5 Important Life Skills Your Child Needs To Learn (And How You Can Teach Them)

learning life skills

By Mariel Uyquiengco

We all know those stories of successful men and women who didn’t do well in school or never even earned a college degree. They had something in them that made them triumph over those with fancy academic degrees; these are life skills that are often not taught at home and in schools.

Life skills are basic things that children need to know in order to successfully navigate adulthood. According to UNICEF, these are psycho social and personal skills that parents teach their kids through modeling or intentional teaching.

Needless to say, it is of utmost importance to teach children life skills in addition to the formal education that they get. These skills fall into the areas of mental, physical, practical, social, and even spiritual.

Learning life skills actually means preparing for life, and not just for tests in school. Here are 5 life skills that your child needs to learn for a successful adulthood.

1. Money Management

Math is taught in school from the time students enter Kindergarten up to the time they are in university. However, many young adults have a problem adjusting to their newly acquired independence. A lot of graduates on their first job party the nights (and maybe days) away, live beyond their means, and struggle with the responsibilities of their job.

Teaching kids about being frugal, saving, budgeting, and investing will help them develop and appreciate the idea that money can be managed instead of just being spent thoughtlessly.

2. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is about being able to think clearly. Though we oftentimes look at thinking as memorizing and answering tests, we should all think analytically or questioningly.

Children are often just fed what they should be thinking about in the form of tests. It is, however, important to teach them to gather facts, analyze their data, and then make informed decisions.

3. Work Ethic

Young people need to learn the importance of hard work and of doing things that you don’t really want. Creativity comes out of facing boring or uninteresting tasks.

Setting goals, working for those goals, and staying motivated are important for children to learn. These will help them stay in one job to explore all the opportunities in it before deciding to quit and move on.

Work ethic is about showing up even if you want to be somewhere else. It is about doing your best in a less-than-desired situation.

4. Relationships

Getting along with people is a crucial skill to have. People are a social being and constantly interact with each other.

Precocious children will not go far if they have problems with communicating with family and friends. They need to know how to listen and to hold one end of a conversation with others.

Empathy is another skill that children need to develop. The ability to put themselves in others’ shoes is a valuable tool in dealing with others and lets them put others ahead of themselves.

5. Practical Skills

Taking care of one’s own needs is something that all kids must be able to do when they are already on their own. Oftentimes, children are coddled and are only required to do well in school and extra-curricular activities.

Parents, then, should start training their children in practical life skills such as washing the dishes, cooking meals, cleaning the house, and being organized with bills and documents.

Activities should have no genders, so boys must also be taught how to iron clothes and sew buttons; girls need to learn how to change a light bulb, wash a car, and become handy with screwdrivers.

Life skills are more than just doing chores. Parents must directly teach their children skills that will benefit them when they are already out in the world on their own.


Mariel Uyquiengco hopes to inspire parents to be their children’s first and best teacher. She does this through her blog and online children’s book shop www.thelearningbasket.com and by giving parenting seminars about early childhood development, preschool homeschool, and raising children to be readers.


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