Life Skills for ages 2 – 18 Excerpts from “What Every Child Should Know Along the Way by Gail Martin”

Life Skills   ~

The tools your child needs to succeed in life.

Age 2

  • Undress self
  • Put own pajamas away
  • Wash face and hands
  • Comb or brush own hair (with help)
  • Brush teeth (with help)
  • Pick up toys
  • Tidy up bedroom
  • Clear off own place at table
  • Be able to play safely and alone for a set period of time (1/2 to 1 hour) in own room.

(Under supervision.  Children need to know that they can be alone and still have fun.)

Age 3

  • Dress self (with help)
  • Make own bed (use comforter)
  • Wipe up own spills
  • Help set table
  • Snap, zipper and button
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper
  • Start swim lessons

 Age 4

  • Help gather laundry
  • Use a handheld vacuum
  • Pick up outside toys
  • Dust and clean TV screen
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Know own phone number
  • Know own address
  • Help empty dishwasher
  • Help bring in groceries
  • Tie own shoes
  • Sit quietly in church (looking at books or drawing quietly is OK)
  • Next level swim lessons

Age 5

  • Put clean clothes away neatly
  • Swim (goal – swim independently)
  • Leave bathroom clean after use
  • Clean toilet
  • Feed and water pets
  • Get mail (if in a safe place) and put it in the proper place
  • Receive a small allowance (if used)
  • Money Management: saving, spending and charitable giving
  • Know how to make emergency phone calls (911)
  • Dust low shelves and objects (consider using a Swiffer)
  • Empty kitchen trash
  • Clean brushes and combs
  • Organize bathroom drawers
  • Learn to roller skate
  • Learn to jump rope
  • Learn to ride a bike

Age 6

  • Organize own drawers
  • Organize own closet
  • Empty dishwasher and put dishes away
  • Wash and dry dishes by hand
  • Straighten living and family rooms
  • Rake leaves
  • Help put groceries away
  • Make juice from a can or mix
  • Make a sandwich and toast
  • Basics of spending, saving, and giving
  • Pour milk into cereal
  • Pour milk or juice into a cup
  • Wash out plastic trash cans
  • Clean mirrors
  • Bathe alone
  • Clean windows

Age 7

  • Use a vacuum cleaner
  • Clean pet cages and food bowls
  • Use a broom and dustpan
  • Sweep porches, decks, driveways and walkways
  • Take a written phone message
  • Learn basic food groups and good nutrition habits
  • Cook canned soup
  • Read and prepare a simple recipe
  • Be familiar with cooking, measuring tools and their uses
  • Make Jell-O and Boil eggs (hard and soft)
  • Money management (earning money and saving for a goal)
  • Pack own sack lunch
  • Cut up own meat, pancakes, etc.
  • Water outside plants, flowers and garden
  • Arrange refrigerator or bulletin board “pictures”
  • Weed flower beds and vegetable garden
  • Strip bed sheets
  • Carry dirty clothes hamper to laundry room
  • Sort clothes for washing by color and fabric and check pockets
  • Straighten book and toy shelves
  • Begin music lessons

Age 8

  • Fold clothes neatly without wrinkles
  • Iron flat items
  • Remake own bed with clean sheets
  • Clean interior of car
  • Vacuum furniture (ie., chairs and couches), especially under cushions
  • Water house plants and lawn outside
  • Clean bathroom sink, toilet, and tub
  • Load and turn on dishwasher
  • Trim own nails and clean own ears
  • Learn model making
  • Set table correctly
  • Mop floor
  • Peel carrots and potatoes
  • Begin teaching time management skills, assignment deadlines, or short blocks of time
  • Money Management: Spend, Save, Give principle

Age 9

  • Load and operate washing machine and dryer (clean lint trap and washer filter)
  • Time management (get activities done in a block of time)
  • Fold blankets neatly
  • Straighten and organize kitchen drawers
  • Help clean out refrigerator
  • Prepare hot beverages
  • Prepare boxed macaroni and cheese
  • Cook hot dogs and scrambled eggs
  • Brown hamburger meat
  • Dust all household furniture
  • Count and give monetary change
  • Compare quality and prices (unit pricing)
  • Oil bicycle

Age 10

  • Replace light bulbs and understand wattage
  • Distinguish between good and spoiled food
  • Bake a cake from a mix
  • Cook frozen and canned vegetables
  • Make pancakes from scratch
  • Understand the importance of ingredient and nutrient labeling
  • Plan a balanced meal
  • Know how to select and prepare fruits and vegetables
  • Bake cookies from scratch
  • Repair bicycle tire and learn basic adjustments
  • Know basic emergency first-aid procedures
  • Understand uses of medicine and seriousness of overuse
  • Wipe down kitchen cupboards
  • Be able to do family laundry completely
  • Mow lawn
  • Know how to handle a pocket knife
  • Sew simple crafts on a sewing machine (pillows, bean bags, etc.)

Age 11

  • Replace fuse; know where circuit breakers are
  • Change vacuum belt and bag
  • Clean and straighten garage
  • Bake muffins and biscuits
  • Make a green salad and dressing
  • Do simple mending and sew on buttons
  • Wash the car
  • Learn basic electrical repairs
  • Know a variety of knots
  • Understand basics of camera use
  • Be a helper in a church ministry

(ie., nursery, Sunday School)

 Ages 12 to 15

  • Make deposits and withdrawals at the bank
  • Perform basic first aid and CPR
  • Time Management (should be able to manage an entire day of activities/assignments)
  • Check and fill all car fluids
  • Type with proficiency
  • Money Management: Budgeting basics, Charitable Giving, Spending Plan, Saving for a car, Saving Money, Emergency Fund

Ages 16 to 18

  • Plan well-balanced meals, including shopping and cooking
  • Pass a driver’s test
  • Write checks and balance a checkbook
  • Fill out a job application
  • Make one complete meal (nothing gourmet, just make sure they can feed themselves)
  • Money Management: Budget / Cash Flow, Debit cards vs. Credit Cards, Fraud Protection, Teaching Investing
  • Prepare a resume


*Life Skills:  Life Skills for Kids: Equipping Your Child for the Real World by C. Field

*Money Management:

*Character Education:

Excerpts from What Every Child Should Know Along the Way   by Gail Martin