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


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.

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