45 Life Skills Your Children Need Before They Leave Home

There are many things we do each day — life skills — that we take for granted. We’ve done them so long that we forget that our children might not know how to do them. One easy remedy is to include our children in our daily activities, instructing as we go.

Get the children involved in everyday life alongside the adults in the family. If they spend time with adults, they will learn to be adults. If we intentionally expose them to the everyday life skills we take for granted, they will become equipped for adulthood.

Life Skills for Kids by Christine Field

From Life Skills for Kids by Christine M. Field
From Life Skills for Kids by Christine M. Field

Life skills can cover many areas — everything from how to manage money to feeding animals to keeping up a home. In Life Skills for Kids, Christine Field provides a helpful diagram that shows the various areas we might want to include when considering those skills adults should have.

Meanwhile, it is a good idea to make a list of those life skills we don’t want to forget to pass along to our children, covering them and checking them off as we go.

Here is a list of 45 life skills children should have before they leave home. Think of this as a starting place — you’ll want to modify to fit your own family.

  1. Balance a checkbook.
  2. Give (and take) directions.
  3. Check the oil in the car.
  4. Pump gas.
  5. Fill a tire with air.
  6. Change a tire.
  7. Buy groceries.
  8. Prepare simple, healthy meals.
  9. Brew a cup of coffee.
  10. Ride a bicycle.
  11. Swim.
  12. Clean a bathroom.
  13. Mop floors.
  14. Wash, dry, and fold clothes.
  15. Sew on a button.
  16. Use a hammer, pliers, and a screwdriver.
  17. Properly care for a pet.
  18. Handle an emergency.
  19. Perform basic first aid.
  20. Count back change.
  21. Make a budget (to live within their means).
  22. Understand interest (and why you want to earn it, not pay it).
  23. Sign their name.
  24. Fill out a form.
  25. Create a résumé.
  26. Type.
  27. Write, address, and send a letter or card.
  28. Safely find their way around the Internet.
  29. Manage their time.
  30. Make an appointment.
  31. Make decisions.
  32. Stay organized.
  33. Apply their skills.
  34. Learn anything on their own.
  35. Know when to ask for help.
  36. Practice personal hygiene.
  37. Do a rock-solid pushup.
  38. Stay physically fit.
  39. Display good manners.
  40. Give and receive a compliment.
  41. Serve others.
  42. Say no.
  43. Listen.
  44. Be thankful.
  45. Pray.

Additional Resources
Life Skills for Kids

Life Skills for Kids: Equipping Your Child for the Real World by Christine M. Field
We’ve had this one on the shelf for some time and found it an easy reference for covering various skills. The book is over 300 pages long, filled with how-tos covering:

  • People skills.
  • Home skills.
  • Safety in many areas.
  • Time organization.
  • Space organization.
  • Maintenance skills.
  • Money.
  • Health.
  • Education skills.
  • Spiritual habits.
  • Decision making.
  • Creativity.
  • Joy.

The author advocates starting early. We often misjudge what our children are capable of. But not to worry, it is never too late to bring them up to speed. There are a few helpful charts and forms sprinkled throughout along with tons of lists and a large resource section in the back. Life Skills for Kids is also available on Kindle.

Life Skills Checklist Ages 4–18 {Free!}
Free checklist from Christine Field at ThrivingFamily.com (a Focus on the Family site).

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