Des Moines, IA

Life Skills Every Child Needs to Learn




As a parent, it’s your responsibility to help your child grow and learn so they are able to support themselves and understand the world around them. School is great for book knowledge and social interactions, but it doesn’t cover some of the basics of life that they’ll need to know how to do once they are on their own.

When your child(ren) leave the nest after high school, are they going to be able to take care of themselves? We’ve become a society that tends to over-parent. While no bad intentions ever came from over-parenting, it can be detrimental to your child. Being able to handle themselves and do things on their own not only boosts self-confidence and self-esteem, but gives them a sense of purpose too.

Here are 8 skills every child should know before graduating from high school:

1. Household Chores. Seems pretty simple, and it is, but even things like laundry or the dishwasher can seem foreign to kids who have never had to do them. Sorting, reading labels, putting dishes away are all things your child should know how to do and not have to be asked to do before leaving the nest.

Mom and sons cooking together2. Cooking. They don’t need to be Bobby Flay, but being able to make themselves a meal is important. Whether it be a family emergency and you’re not going to be around to cook dinner or you forgot to pack them a lunch, kids should know how to cook at least a few different items or put something together, like a sandwich and salad. Cooking is also important for teaching kids about healthy eating. Those who cook at home more tend to eat healthier and understand nutrition better.

3. Packing their stuff. Teaching kids to pack their own backpacks or getaway bags is great for teaching them about responsibility. If they need to have something specific for a class or an outing, remind them that they need to ensure it’s packed. Kids will depend on you too much for this if you don’t start putting some of the responsibility back on them. Some kids may like it better as then they will know right where everything is and pack things they want.

4. Standing up for themselves. This can be difficult, but parents should do their best to step aside if there are conflicts or concerns. Whether it be a poor grade they don’t think they deserved or having to be a benchwarmer, let your kids advocate for themselves. Work with them on how to listen and talk to get their point across, but let them do it. They won’t always have you to back them up and you may also not know the whole story.

5. Getting up by themselves. How many times have you had to turn into a human snooze button and keep reminding your child(ren) to get out of bed? By the time your children are teenagers, they should be able to wake themselves and get up without your assistance or pestering. If they miss something or are late, then they will have to be accountable for their tardiness.

6. Helping out. Whether it be driving a sibling to a practice or helping around the house with additional chores, instilling a sense of teamwork to get something done or just to help someone in need will speak volumes when they join the workforce.

7. Shopping. Grocery shopping, specifically. Do you take your children to the store with you? Do they know the difference between a cucumber and zucchini or an orange and grapefruit? This coincides with cooking and is a healthy habit to teach kids young. It gives you the opportunity to teach about healthy foods and gives them the confidence to know where everything is and see the whole process of shopping to cooking to enjoying a meal.

8. Banking. Money management is a great skill to learn early on. While your children may not be of age yet to have a job, even managing money that has been gifted to them and helping them understand how much things cost can have an immense impact on their life. When the time comes that they start earning money, they will hopefully have a better understanding. Help them open a checking account and talk to them about saving and spending.

Don’t worry if you haven’t started these skill sets with your child yet. It’s never too late to introduce them to new skills.


Farrells Martial Arts Kicker LogoTKD Tip: Kids are visual learners. Think of ways you can teach them visually. For money management, maybe it’s two piggy banks – one for savings and one for spending. For grocery shopping, give them a list and tell them to get a basket and find those items. You could include a small photo of the item to help until they can identify it on their own!

Location Info

Beaverdale School         Waukee School
2706 Beaver Ave.            215 N. Warrior Lane
Des Moines, IA 50310       Waukee, IA 50263
515-255-0095                  515-978-3000