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7 life skills that every child needs

Kid smiling

As parents, we work hard to ensure that our children are doing well in school. We make sure they have the supplies they need, help them with their homework, and encourage them to get good grades. But what about life skills for children? Are we doing enough to teach them the basics they need to know for everyday life?
The great thing is that you can use various techniques to foster and teach your children essential life skills that they need to be confident, successful and happy and the younger they start learning these skills, the better it is for them.
Here is a list of essential life skills to teach your children:


The ability to listen and communicate a message clearly is one of the most critical life skills for children. Great communication skills will help them build healthier relationships and manage conflict better. Skills like listening to others’ points of views, emotional expression, and reading body language are essential with good communication. Ways to practice better communication is by having regular conversations with your children, role-playing activities, reading and active listening to each other.

Having Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and care about other people’s needs, desires, and feelings. It can help us accept others, especially those that may differ from us and also help to form better relationships. Some ways to nurture empathy in your children is by discussing social situations with them, pretend play, demonstrate empathy by being empathic towards them and others and reading stories about feelings.

Coping with emotions

It is important for your child to recognize and define how they are feeling. Start teaching them names of different emotions so they can learn to express their emotions in an appropriate manner. Teach them ways to calm down using breathing techniques, meditation and taking breaks when feelings get over whelming. And demonstrate this by practicing your own emotional regulation in challenging situations.


Resilience is the ability to cope with stress, adversity and loss and then recovering from setbacks to deal with life in a positive manner. You can help your child build resilience by making a strong connection with your child and teaching your child to keep things in perspective.
Resilience is built, when we allow our child to move through their own emotional situation without trying to ‘solve’ the problem for them. This teaches them that emotions come and go and even though it might feel like the world is ending, when they have a big emotion, the world doesn’t end and we all get through it. With the right emotional tools they can learn to build up resilience to getting through stressful situations. Of course, just being with them and holding them through the emotion is key to them understanding that they can get through it. Then having time to sit with them to reflect on the stressful situation when things have calmed down.


Time never stops. That’s why managing time is a useful life skill for children.
Children can learn how to organize or divide their time to perform a particular task and parents can help them build time management skills by planning out tasks and making a daily routine with them.
Allowing children to understand the natural consequence of poor time management is also a way for them to learn this skill. Running late for school might sound like a shouting match in the morning just to get them in the car. Instead, let them be late, advising the teacher you are training them in time management. They will get to school late and with the teacher’s help, they can understand the natural consequences of poor time management.


To let children become more independent, allow them to understand a few things on their own and give them opportunities to do tasks and activities without assistance. This helps build self-confidence and self-esteem and encourages them to do simple tasks without help and be self-reliant. You can encourage this by letting them make their own choices and asking for their opinions whenever possible.
Remember you can’t control the child, but you can control the environment. Give them choices in the environment to give them a sense of independence. For example: place a cup and plate and the food for breakfast within reach for them, putting any other dangerous items out of reach (the environment) allowing them to make their own breakfast some mornings.

Coping with failure

Failure is a part of life and it helps every individual learn that you won’t always have things your way and you won’t always win. Help your child understand that failure is a part of the learning process and teach them to embrace their failures, in fact encourage them to celebrate them. Because with every mistake or failure this means they are learning something new – creating a new neural pathway in the brain. Explain to them at first you will make lots of mistakes – and that’s great! It means your brain is under construction and with enough practice you will eventually make less mistakes and become really good at something. Failure doesn’t define a person and that it is how people cope with failures that counts.