An age-by-age guide to teaching your child valuable life skills

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As parents, it is important to teach our children as many life lessons as we can. Teaching your child how to be an independent person should start at a young age. As they learn how to perform life skills they will start feeling empowered and will develop a healthier self-esteem. Read on for a list of age-appropriate skills you can follow to help your child prepare for the time when they are an adult. It’s never too early to learn.

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Ages 2 and 3

You can start teaching basic life skills at this age. By the time they are three, they should be comfortable:

  • Helping to put toys away
  • Getting dressed with minimal help
  • Putting dirty clothes in a basket
  • Assisting in table setting and clearing
  • Brushing their teeth and washing their face and hands with assistance

Ages 4 and 5

Your child should know about some safety issues at this point in their life. They should know what their full name is, where they live, and a phone number to reach a parent. They should also know how to dial 9-1-1.

Your child should be able to:

  • Help feed pets at this age
  • Perform some simple chores, such as dusting and clearing the table
  • Understand the basic concept of the way cash is used
  • Brush their teeth and wash their face without help

Ages 6 and 7

Your child can learn basic cooking techniques at this age. They should be able to:

  • Cut with a dull knife
  • Mix and stir dishes
  • Put together a simple meal, such as a sandwich
  • Wash dishes
  • Take a bath or shower unsupervised
  • Make their bed
  • Straighten up the bathroom after use

Ages 8 and 9

A child should start taking pride in personal belongings at this age. They should be able to:

  • Fold clothes
  • Care for toys outside
  • Learn how to sew a button or stitch
  • Bathe or shower without being told to
  • Make change and count money
  • Prepare an easy meal
  • Use a broom properly

Ages 10 to 13

This is the age where your child can start performing skills independently. They should be able to:

  • Stay at home alone for short periods of time
  • Make purchases at the store themselves
  • Use the washing machine and dryer
  • Read and follow directions for recipes
  • Iron and fold clothes
  • Take care of younger siblings

Ages 14 to 18

By the age of 14, your child should be able to:

  • Perform more complex tasks, such as cleaning the stove or plunging the toilet
  • Understand medicine labels and dosage
  • Fill a car with gas and add air to a tire
  • Change a tire
  • Interview for a job
  • Create a calendar and stick to schedules

Young Adults

Once your child is a young adult they will need to know how to do the following:

  • Make regular dentist and doctor appointments
  • Schedule regular car maintenance and oil changes
  • Understand how a credit card works
  • Manage their own bank account
  • Know how to pay bills
  • Understand important contracts