Right Track Educational Services

Helping families make smart educational choices

Does your Child have Life Skills?

Recently, I’ve been reading about the life skills kids need to be successful and independent in the 21st century.  In the real world.

I’ve read books and articles through a “teacher lens,” but can’t avoid my other “parent lens.”  Some information has caused me to cringe, while I reflect on my parenting style! 

Have my own kids acquired life skills, age-appropriately? 

I’m not sure I’ve done enough pushing to get my two teens to contribute to household chores, yard work, pet care, and cooking.  Have you?

teens doing chores

Lindsay Hutton, associate editor at familyeducation.com, created a list of living skills kids should possess, by age category.  She outlines the skills needed per “stage” — goals kids and teens can work toward. 

I hope you find Ms Hutton’s list as helpful as I do.

 

 

 

 

 

AGES 2 TO 3: SMALL CHORES AND BASIC GROOMING.

This is the age when your child will start to learn basic life skills. By the age of three, your child should be able to:

  • help put his toys away
  • dress himself (with some help from you)
  • put his clothes in the hamper when he undresses
  • clear his plate after meals
  • assist in setting the table
  • brush his teeth and wash his face with assistance

AGES 4 TO 5: IMPORTANT NAMES AND NUMBERS.

When your child reaches this age, safety skills are high on the list. She should:

  • know her full name, address, and phone number
  • know how to make an emergency call
  • perform simple cleaning chores such as dusting in easy-to-reach places and clearing the table after meals
  • feed pets
  • identify monetary denominations, and understand the very basic concept of how money is used
  • brush her teeth, comb her hair, and wash her face without assistance
  • help with basic laundry chores, such as putting her clothes away and bringing her dirty clothes to the laundry area
  • choose her own clothes to wear

AGES 6 TO 7: BASIC COOKING TECHNIQUES.

Kids at this age can start to help with cooking meals, and can learn to:

  • mix, stir, and cut with a dull knife
  • make a basic meal, such as a sandwich
  • help put the groceries away
  • wash the dishes
  • use basic household cleaners safely
  • straighten up the bathroom after using it
  • make his bed without assistance
  • bathe unsupervised

AGES 8 TO 9: PRIDE IN PERSONAL BELONGINGS.

By this time, your child should take pride in her personal belongings and take care of them properly. This includes being able to:

  • fold her clothes
  • learn simple sewing
  • care for outdoor toys such as her bike or roller skates
  • take care of personal hygiene without being told to do so
  • use a broom and dustpan properly
  • read a recipe and prepare a simple meal
  • help create a grocery list • count and make change
  • take written phone messages
  • help with simple lawn duties such as watering and weeding flower beds
  • take out the trash

AGES 10 TO 13: GAINING INDEPENDENCE.

Ten is about the age when your child can begin to perform many skills independently. He should know how to:

  • stay home alone
  • go to the store and make purchases by himself
  • change his own bedsheets
  • use the washing machine and dryer
  • plan and prepare a meal with several ingredients
  • use the oven to broil or bake foods
  • read labels
  • iron his clothes
  • learn to use basic hand tools
  • mow the lawn
  • look after younger siblings or neighbours

AGES 14 TO 18: MORE ADVANCED SKILLS ARE LEARNED.

By the age of fourteen, your child should have a very good mastering of all of the previous skills. On top of that, she should also be able to:

  • perform more sophisticated cleaning and maintenance chores, such as changing the vacuum cleaner bag, cleaning the stove, and unclogging drains
  • fill a car with gas, add air to and change a tire
  • read and understand medicine labels and dosages
  • interview for and get a job
  • prepare and cook meals

YOUNG ADULTS: PREPARING TO LIVE ON HIS OWN.

Your child will need to know how to support himself when he goes away to college or moves out. There are still a few skills he should know before venturing out on his own, including:

  • make regular doctor and dentist appointments and other important health-related appointments
  • have a basic understanding of finances, and be able to manage his bank account, balance a cheque book, pay a bill, and use a credit card
  • understand basic contracts, like an apartment or car lease
  • schedule oil changes and basic car maintenance

As parents in this day and age, it’s hard not to want to do some of these things for our kids.  We love to pitch in.  Sometimes it’s easier to do it ourselves.  I think this behaviour is the popular parenting style of our time. 

But research shows we’re not helping our kids in the long run.

I’ve made changes already (since doing this research) to the way things run around our home.  Surprisingly, my teens seem to be on board!

Bring on the chores!