Age-Based List of Life Skills Children and Young Adults Should Learn and be Exposed to

In the previous blog, we talked about the five essential life skills children should learn at a young age. And we believe you should check that out for reference.

However, life skills are not just about learning how to manage finances, cooking a few dishes or doing laundry. It is much more than that. Life skills are the abilities that enable us to deal with our everyday life demands and challenges effectively. Whether these challenges are faced at school, in our personal lives or at the workplace, we have to be equipped with adaptive and positive behaviour. As adults, we may have already acquired these skills. But how about children, teenagers and young adults?

In general, life skills include social, emotional, and thinking skills (critical thinking, self-awareness, empathy, decision-making and coping with stress). So here is a list of life skills children and young adults should be exposed to and learned:

Ages 2 to 3: A mini-helper

  • Help keep their toys back in their proper places
  • Dress themselves (with a little assistance from adults)
  • Put their clothes in the hamper, laundry basket or open washing machine
  • Assist in setting the table
  • Wash their face and brush their teeth with a little help.

Ages 4 to 5: A trove of important names and numbers

At this age, safety skills top the list. They should know:

  • Their full name, parents' names, home address, and phone number.
  • How to make an emergency call.

They should also learn how to:

  • Perform simple chores such as sweeping, dusting easy-to-reach places and wiping tables after meals.
  • Feed pets.
  • Identify monetary denominations and understand the basic concept of how money is used.
  • Choose their own clothes to wear
  • Fold dry and clean clothes
  • Learn how to ride a bike.

Ages 6 to 7: A half-expert in the house

Kids at this age:
  • Mix, stir and cut vegetables.
  • Make a basic meal such as a sandwich or two-minute instant noodles.
  • Help put the groceries in the cupboards.
  • Wash the dishes.
  • Go to a nearby shop for a small and simple errand.
  • Familiar with which things are found where and their usage.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Straighten up the bathroom after using it.
  • Fix his bed.
  • Bathe unsupervised.
  • Dress themselves without assistance.
  • Wash their own innerwear.
  • Learn a musical instrument or two or more.

Ages 8 to 9: A self-managing little giants

Children at this age should know how to:

  • Knead a dough.
  • Order an online take-out.
  • Hail an auto.
  • Sew small sewing issues in their uniforms and other clothes.
  • Count money and change.
  • Water and weed plants in the garden.
  • Take out pets for a short walk.
  • Take out the trash.
  • Do their homework with minor assistance.

Note: The best way to practice kneading doughs is by playing with play doughs. Check out the 3 things (questions) you need to consider when buying play doughs or clay.


Ages 10 to 13: Independent Teens

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

  • Go about town alone.
  • Stay home alone.
  • Travel from one city to city without company
  • Go to stores and buy stuff by himself.
  • Use the washing machine and dryer.
  • Plan and prepare a meal with several ingredients.
  • Use the oven to broil or bake foods.

Your child should also learn how to:

  • Read labels and understand most ingredients.
  • Iron their clothes.
  • Learn to use basic hand tools such as carpentry or garden tools.
  • Look after younger siblings or neighbours.
  • Operate electronic appliances.
  • Learn basic self-defence moves.
  • Take care of pets.

Ages 14 to 18: An avant-garde
By the age of 14, children should have mastered the previous skills and are ready for advanced skills. They should be able to:
  • Learn to drive and own a student driving license.
  • Perform basic repairs.
  • Use the first-aid kit properly.
  • Change a tire.
  • Read and understand medicine labels and dosages.
  • Fill out a job application and create a resume'.
  • Have confidence for a job interview and get it.
  • Prepare and cook meals if needed. 
  • Use public transport and other facilities.
  • Understand matters related to finance such as paying bills.
  • Differentiate between reliable and fraudulent information available offline and online.
  • Attend PTM on behalf of you.
  • Participate in community service (social skills).

Note: Playing with toy cars is best when children learn their parts and know how to fix when something is wrong with them.

Young Adults: A life on their 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:
  • Understand basic deals or contracts such as renting an apartment or appliances.
  • Manage finances such as stipends, salary, etc.
  • Understand taxation.
  • Take care of themselves among thousands of people in the city.
  • Handle friendships and other relationships in a mature way.
  • Go on a solo road trip locally or internationally.
  • Make regular doctor and dentist appointments and other important health-related appointments.

Learning life skills vary from one child to another, for there are no two children are the same. This is mostly dependent on what kind of parenting they grow up in and what kind of opportunities they were exposed to at a young age.

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