As parents we are often concerned about what our kids are learning educationally when it comes to reading, writing, and math, but what about life skills? It is just as important for our children to know essential life skills as it is for them to be able to read, write, and balance a checkbook. Here are some activities that you can use to make sure that your kids are prepared to take care of themselves both now, and as they get older.
Activities for Teaching Life Skills to Kids
Did you know that kids as young as three years old know how to use a smartphone, but kids as old as ten don’t know how to make themselves a sandwich or simple meal? Crazy, right? So here are some ways that you can teach even young kids how to function in the kitchen.
For toddlers and young children (2 to 5), they can be your little sous chef. Let them pour in ingredients from cans, help wash vegetables, stir ingredients, and roll up balls of dough for cookies. You can also teach them how to prepare simple sandwiches (Pb & j anyone?), and how to put away utensils.
For school-age children (6 to 10) they can help you gather ingredients, cut soft foods, grease pans, unload the dishwasher, and brown ground beef, or boil pasta with an adult’s direct supervision.
For middle-schoolers (11 to 13), you can teach them how to use kitchen appliances (with adult supervision), shredding cheese with a grater, sauteing meat and vegetables, slicing soft meats and vegetables, making scrambled eggs, and loading the dishwasher.
For high-schoolers (14 to 18) they should know how to safely handle raw meat, how to properly cut vegetables and meat, how to bake bread with yeast, prepare a meal from start to finish including clean-up.
Teaching your kids how to properly clean and care for their clothing will serve them well for the rest of their lives. For younger kids this may simply be helping you to gather the clothes and sort the loads, once washing and drying are done they can help you to match socks, fold towels, and help put the folded clothing in their own drawers.
As children get older, you can teach them about reading the labels on clothing, how to use the washing machine and dryer, and how to properly fold clothes and put them away. When they are old enough make sure that you also teach them how to properly iron. The wrinkled look may be what is in style now, but they may not think so once they get a little older.
How to Use Tools and Perform Simple Household Fixes
You don’t have to be a handyman to need to know how to use tools and perform some simple household maintenance. For younger kids, this can be as simple as teaching them what the tools are called and having them hand you what you need.
As they get a little older you can teach them things like how to hang a picture, install a ceiling fan, find the studs using the stud-finder or clear a blocked toilet or sink. These simple skills will serve them well in the future and may save them some money when they don’t have to pay someone else to do them.
Most children and teens know how to communicate via text message, but do they know how to write a letter? Can they write a proper cover letter for a resume or a condolence card for a grieving friend?
For a young child teaching, these skills can be as simple as writing a letter to Santa, the tooth fairy, or a grandparent. For older children, you can teach them how to write a cover letter, or simply have them write email (not text) correspondence to loved ones. You can also have them send letters or cards, who doesn’t love to get something in the mail that isn’t a bill?
These are not all of the life skills that your kids need to know. They also know to stick to a budget, clean up after themselves, basic first aid, how to find their way around a new place, and how to advocate for themselves. These are a good list of activities that teach life skills to get you started though.
Make sure you check out this age appropriate chores for kids post to help get a chore routine going in your family as well.