50 Very Important Life Skills to Teach Your Kids

Last spring, our oldest boy celebrated his 14th birthday. 14 years! There’s something about that magical number that made me kinda take a step back. When you think about it, it’s only 4 more years until he’s 18. He only has 4 years of school left. That’s 4 more summers. In 4 years, he could potentially be out on his own, making his own way in this world. Holy mackerel, where has the time gone? All of these things and more have gone through my head since that day last spring when my oldest baby turned 14.

The main thoughts that have really stuck with me and won’t leave me alone … “What have I taught him? Am I teaching him things that will help him navigate through life? What about this life skill? Or that skill? Oh my gosh! I haven’t taught him how to do that yet!”

Yeah, it’s a panicky moment when you realize ALL THE STUFF you still need to teach your kids. Just a note of encouragement… Wherever you are in your journey, you’re doing ok, Mamas. We’re all on this crazy journey, we’re all in the same boat, we’re all treading water, trying to stay afloat and keep our kids afloat too. You’re doing ok! It’s all about baby steps, so just start where you are.

Why are life skills so important?

This may seem like a silly question, but bear with me.

Life skills are important because they’re the skills an individual needs to navigate his or her way through life. Even something as simple as cooking a meal or knowing how to change a tire can be extremely difficult or even seem impossible for someone who hasn’t learned how. Can you imagine the money our kids can save on tow bills if we teach them the simple job of changing a tire? Or imagine the trouble they can save themselves down the line if they learn how to manage their finances in a responsible way?

50 Life Skills

When thinking about skills that are most important, maybe think about the ones you wish you’d learned and mastered at an earlier age. Hopefully, this list will get you thinking. The skills I’ve listed below are listed in no particular order.

(Disclosure: Many of these skills are drawn from a Facebook conversation with friends and family, who happily shared their thoughts and opinions. Where applicable, I’ll link to their blogs.)


1.How to cook

2.How to clean - house, car, outdoors, etc.

3.Read and write in cursive, including how to sign their name

4.Laundry, including stain removal and ironing (via Brandi from The Creative Princess)

5.Basic sewing skills - how to sew a button, fix a seam, mending, etc.

6.Work ethic (via Nina from Loving My Country Life)

7.How to stand up for themselves

8.Open a bank account

9.Balance a checkbook/bank account (via Sara from Clever Pink Pirate)

10.Write a check - Even though this may seem like it’s becoming outdated, it’s still a necessary skill.

11.Basic finance - budgeting and saving (via Rhonda from Captain Mom)

12.How to do taxes

13.Drive a car, both standard and automatic if possible

14.How to change a tire safely

15.Check and re-fill fluids on a vehicle

16.Pump gas

17.Jump a car battery (via Sara from Clever Pink Pirate)

18.Navigate a map without a phone (via Sara from Clever Pink Pirate)


20.Respect for others (via Christy from Insanity is Not an Option)

21.Relationship and communication skills (via Beth from Grace for Rainy Days)

22.How to address an envelope (via Monica from Monica Wants It) - It seems simple, but you’d be surprised how many people do NOT know how to do this.

23.Recognize sickness in a child (via Sarah from Classical Homemaking)

24.Natural medicines and how to use them

25.Grocery shopping – budgeting, navigating the store, etc. (via Sara from Clever Pink Pirate)

26.Food safety

27.Basic first aid

28.Emergency plan, procedures, and safety

29.911 call


31.Fire safety in the kitchen

32.Fire safety in general – stop, drop, and roll

33.How to call and make an appointment (doctor/dentist) and make arrangements to get there (via Brandi from The Creative Princess)

34.Change a diaper (via Sarah from Classical Homemaking)

35.Basic nutrition (via Beth from Grace for Rainy Days)

36.Care for plants/animals

37.How to swim

38.Dangerous chemicals – For example, mixing ammonia and bleach

39.Gardening skills – whether on a big plot of land or in a pot on the back porch

40.Food preservation skills – Canning, freezing, etc.


42.Phone skills and manners – Including how to hold a conversation

43.How to turn off the main water valve and electricity

44.How to fish

45.Apply for a job and create a resumé

46.Basic knot tying

47.Start a fire

48.How to use basic tools – Drill, hammer, wrench, screwdriver, shovel, axe, etc.

49.How to be resourceful

50.Develop a love for reading – which will also involve learning how to look for books and other resources at the library

Bonus Skills: How to plunge a toilet, how to clean a drain, and thanks to Brandi from The Creative Princess, how to change the toilet paper roll

Now, what skills did I leave out? What very important life skills would you add to the list?


By The Women Bloggers member Mel Lockcuff of Adventures of Mel.