Practical Life Skills That Children Must Learn at Any Age

As parents, we must pass on the basic skills our children will need to become successful adults, such as swimming, doing our own laundry, or preparing healthy meals. The real question is when to teach them? Here are age guidelines for the skills kids need to master before moving out on their own.

All children develop at different rates, so it is important to proceed from how interesting they are and how mature they are, as well as their age. But the age ranges below can help you figure out when your kids will be ready to develop to acquire a new skill. After all, you don’t want to suddenly find yourself with a college-age child who is not hygienic. It happens , but if you want your child to be more independent and confident when he goes out into the real world, teach him these skills.

Maintain a sleep schedule: 1 to 6 years

Yes, good sleep hygiene is a life skill that many of us struggle with as we grow up. When your child is very young, you can start teaching them a regular sleep routine (which we, as adults, also need ).

Try the four Bs — bathing, brushing your teeth, books, and bed — and follow your daily routine as consistently as possible every night throughout the week. When your children are 6 or 7 years old, they can follow their routine and go to bed. However, you may have to constantly remind them to stick to their daily routine so that they sleep the 9-11 hours they need each night . You may also have to keep nagging at them as they become teenagers and they turn into night owls .

Swimming start: from 1 to 6 years old

Children can learn to feel comfortable and enjoy the water at any age, but the American Pediatric Association (AAP) recommends that parents wait until the child turns at least 1 year, before taking swimming lessons. The AAP says that not all children between the ages of 1 and 4 are required to take swimming lessons, but lessons should be considered based on factors such as the frequency at which your child is in the water.

The American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety Chart (PDF) states that from 6 months to about 3 years old, young children can learn basic skills (Red Cross Levels 1 and 2) such as diving, swimming and gliding.

Preschoolers (ages 4 and 5) who have learned Level 1 and 2 skills can learn more advanced Level 3 skills that require coordination of their hands and feet and the ability to walk on water.

The Red Cross recommends three more skill levels for children ages 6 and older: stroke development, stroke improvement, and stroke refinement. In fact, more coordination and skill in using the arms and legs to move through the water to the point that they become proficient and confident swimmers.

Cooking Basics: Ages 2 and Up

Your kids may not be the next MasterChef Junior , but acquiring basic culinary skills will be a huge help in later life. Get them involved in the kitchen, regardless of age, and they are more likely to eat healthier foods and try more new foods (and less likely to become picky eaters). Preschoolers can measure ingredients, stir dough, and help prepare pizza. Children aged 6 to 8 years old can use appliances and tools such as a microwave oven, toaster and can opener if you teach them how to use them safely. (Kid-friendly cooking utensils, such as those from Curious Chef, also help.) Teens can start learning basic knife skills and supervised cooking on the stove or oven, while teens can prepare meals for the family. Check out the picture from the link below for more suggestions.

Riding a bike without training wheels: 3 to 8 years

Most children learn to ride a bike at the age of 5, but children can learn from 3 to 8 years old (and older). Pediatrician Dr. Vincent Iannelli explains on that, in addition to developmental skills, having a safe place to ride and knowing others who ride bikes will also influence when kids learn. reports that most children are physically able to ride a tricycle around the age of three . Training the wheels on a regular bike can help kids get used to pedaling with their feet, but this is not necessary – and like one bike A shopkeeper told me they became crutches for older kids. REI shows you how to teach your child to ride a bike in one day .

Brushing your teeth unattended: 6 to 8 years

The strongest skills and habits we have are usually formed at an early age, including good dental care. The American Dental Association recommends that parents brush their children’s teeth when children are younger than 3 years old and supervise the brushing of children’s teeth between 3 and 6 years old. After 6 years of age, your child can brush their teeth on their own. However, your pediatric dentist may have a different recommendation, and Colgate says most children will not be able to brush their teeth properly on their own until they are 8 years old . It’s a matter of motor skills and coordination, not to mention the motivation to get the job done carefully. ( Oral Answers reports that 11-year-olds clean only 50% of the surface of their teeth, while young people between the ages of 18 and 22 do not do much better: they clean 67% of the surfaces of the teeth.)

You can use plaque-breaking tablets to encourage children to brush their teeth better . Chewed before or after brushing your teeth, these tablets paint any plaque on your teeth bright, attractive colors (awful!). Children will be able to better navigate in places where plaque may lurk.

Tie your own shoes (or a bow): 6 to 8 years old

Don’t laugh – tying bows is a lost art these days, as children’s shoes have more Velcro than ordinary laces. This is one of those skills that you could completely forget about if you didn’t think about laces forever. As with brushing their teeth, children between the ages of 6 and 8 tend to have motor skills and coordination to be able to tie their shoes. As Parenting says , if a child has the dexterity to handle small buttons or draw simple stick figures, he is probably ready to tie his shoes.

Try using a skipping rope to teach your child how to tie their shoelaces. And perhaps as they get older and more experienced, they can have fun learning how to tie useful knots and more efficient and durable shoe knots like the Reef Knot or the ultra-fast Ian Knot .

Money management: 6 years old and older

Once your child is old enough to receive benefits and understand how money works, he is old enough to start acquiring financial skills. This is a good time to teach them to wait before buying something and to distinguish between wants and needs. Children ages 6 to 10 can learn about comparison shopping when you’re at the mall or online together, and they can log into the savings account you open with them to keep track of your money. Teens should be aware of compound interest and how a credit card works . And teens can start investing in a Roth IRA if they make money from summer jobs. See additional guidelines for each age group .

Self wash: 8 to 12 years old

Young children probably cannot operate the washing machine unattended, but they can certainly help with the laundry. They can fold towels, fold their own clothes, and learn not to litter their bedroom floors with dirty clothes. This is just the beginning until they are old enough to comfortably do their own laundry, or better yet, help with the laundry around the house.

Mama’s Laundry Talk is a website dedicated to the pleasure of laundry! – has an age guide for washing and says that children between the ages of 11 and 12 are old enough to be in charge of most of the household laundry. Again, this depends on your child. Life Like a Mom blogger Jessica Fisher says everyone in her family, ages 8 and older, can use machines and do their laundry. She suggests labeling the washer and dryer so the kids always know which settings are “right” and equip the laundry so everyone knows when to wash.

Use the map and use public transport alone: ​​6 am to 1 pm

Japanese students aged six or seven use public transportation on their own . Here in the States, we’re divided into groups who say kids shouldn’t wait at the bus stop alone if they ‘re under 13, and parents who let their 9-year-olds ride the NYC subway alone . Of course, Japan is a very different place from the United States, but the National Center for Safe Paths to School says that in general, children are not ready to cross the street alone until they are 10 . But, if you do not take into account local laws , it is up to you. How independent is your child and how aware is he of basic safety rules? How confident are they not only about how to deal with strangers, but also about how to safely cross the street? How easy and safe is it for young children to get around in your area (pedestrian-guarded suburban streets are different from the busier urban environment)? I myself started taking the bus to high school and I think it is not too early for many 12-year-olds to start, of course, depending on the child and the area.

Whether you let your kids go to school alone, ride the bus or train, start teaching them how to read maps and navigate elementary school. As I drove my daughter home from various events, I played a game with her in which she had to choose where to turn or go forward. We got lost several times, but now she knows the important sights and – after I asked her: “What if this store closes?” – the names of important streets. You can also plan subway or car routes together on the map.

Caring for another living creature: 6 years old and older

Pets can be great companions for children, but they may not always be affectionate towards each other, which is why ASPCA, veterinarian Dr. Butch Schreyer, and the Lexington People’s Society recommend the Lexington Family that parents wait until their child is 6 years old before getting sick. pet. You can start with a goldfish or gerbil for young children before moving on to a dog or cat, but even teenagers will probably need some supervision before they are fully in charge of the pet.

Children as young as two can be introduced to gardening and plant care, and you can give your 6-year-old daughter her own ( hardy ) plant to teach her responsibility.

And then there are brothers and sisters who look after other children. Like all of the other skills above, this will depend on your child’s maturity. The minimum age for children legally allowed to stay at home unattended ranges from 6 to 14, so check your state laws first to see if they are old enough to be unattended at home. Otherwise, they obviously shouldn’t be coddling anyone else. In addition, many people start caring for children in their teens or adolescents. Please be aware that in some regions, such as the UK and Ontario, parents may be legally responsible for anything that happens to their child if the nanny is under 16.

Age should not be the determining factor for learning this or any other skill, so consider your child’s individual development when choosing when to teach. You may be pleasantly surprised that your kids are willing to do much more at an earlier age than you thought, if you give them a chance.


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