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How to Teach Life Skills

Mentoring dependents with the life skills to develop confidence ensures they will have the tools to be productive members of society. The bonus is the bond you form with them.


  • Step 1: Instill confidence Instill confidence through high expectations for children and students, requiring them to make decisions and resolve conflicts on their own. Examples abound of kids in special education or with disabilities who accept setbacks and still triumph, against all odds.
  • TIP: Making mistakes is how most people learn. Let children fall down and figure out their next step instead of saving them from the consequences of their actions.
  • Step 2: Assign chores Assign chores around the house, and don't spare them from nasty ones like cleaning the toilet or cleaning up after the pets. They will have a home some day and will have to make a bed and mop a floor, as well as fix a drippy faucet, change a light, or shovel the walk. Start now and they'll thank you later.
  • Step 3: Grow a garden Read about or take classes with your children and plan a garden together. Allow them to choose what they will plant, tend, and harvest. Growing and eating food is the most literal way to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
  • TIP: Don't give them an allowance for what is an honorable routine of pitching in for the family. Everyone who makes the garbage should also bag it and take it out to the curb.
  • Step 4: Develop a work ethic Guide them in demonstrating the right attitude, manners, and commitment for getting a job. Learning how to behave on the job and to stick with it even when the going gets rough will develop a work ethic for life.
  • Step 5: Make them earn their way Show them how to handle a bank account and check book, shifting the responsibility for purchasing their extras, paying for their cell phones, and going to concerts with friends. If they want something, they will need to figure out how to save up for it.
  • Step 6: Cook meals Help them plan a menu, buy, prepare, and cook a meal. They will need to fend for themselves eventually, and eat healthy on their own as a matter of survival. No better time than the present.
  • TIP: Enrolling your child in a scout troop will challenge them to learn how to find food, make a fire, and maintain safety in the wild as part of a group. Joining scout troops has also been known to build character, self esteem, and other important life skills.
  • Step 7: Take care of clothes Teach them how to separate clothes and use appliances for their laundry. Show how to safely use an iron. Give them the basics of sewing and repairing their own things, and perhaps eventually learning to make their own clothing. Now, rest assured knowing that your child has gained the proper life skills to survive.
  • FACT: A 2008 study conducted by revealed that newly hired workers born after 1980 demonstrated a sense of personal superiority, entitlement to higher pay, expectations of flexible work hours, and a need for more vacation time.

You Will Need

  • High expectations
  • House chores
  • Garden
  • Money
  • Kitchen
  • Laundry appliances
  • Iron
  • Sewing materials

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