5 Essential Life Skills to Help Your Child Succeed

Oftentimes parents get caught up in the monotony of child rearing; it can become a never ending cycle of: wake up…off to school and work…come home…dinner and bed. 

When it comes to children, it is important to remember they will one day become adult members of society and life skills are essential for all people; no matter the race, sex, or creed. Essential life skills help to maneuver through complex situations, critical information, and deciphering what’s right or wrong for an individual.


Understanding that life doesn’t just “happen” to you, but can be directly affected by personal choices. Teaching the essential life skill of accountability to a child may look like:

  • Allowing them to clean up their own spills.
  • Identifying what actions have led to a specific outcome and how a similar situation could be handled in the future.
  • Not replacing the game controller if it gets mishandled in a heated gaming session.


Teamwork makes the dream work is not just some cliche bosses tell their employees to get them to do extra work; being able to cooperate is an essential life skill for your child because working as a team, being able to delegate, or complete delegated tasks, and come together for a common goal will help your child become a successful teammate. Teaching the essential life skill of cooperation to a child may look like:

  • Participating in team sports and activities.
  • Working on a family project; such as cooking dinner, organizing the garage, or even setting up the living room for game night.
  • Encouraging fair play and correcting selfish behavior that ultimately puts the group in jeopardy.


It’s not just about how you come across or are received; communication is a two way street and a huge part of that is LISTENING to understand, not to rebuttal. Communication is an essential life skill for your child because being misunderstood causes frustration, and frustration can cause stress. Once communication is out of order, it makes it harder to cooperate; many essential life skills work hand in hand with one another. Teaching the essential life skill of communication may look like:

  • Talking to your children and allowing them to voice their comments and concerns in a respectful and open environment.
  • Allowing everyone in a heated situation to calm down and write what they’re feeling in the moment so it can be worked through once tempers are even.
  • Using a talking stick during family dinner time, or taking turns so that everyone is able to join in a conversation without interrupting one another.

Self Validation

We live in a world of likes and comments, it can be easy to get swept up in follower counting and being obsessed with who’s watching our stories. The essential life skill of self validation will teach your child that their worth has nothing to do with anyone else’s opinion. Teaching the essential life skill of self validation may look like:

  • Morning affirmations are not just for adults; a sticky note on the bathroom mirror with positive, self love affirmations go a long way. Sit down with your child and come up with a few affirmations they can recite each morning as they get ready for their day, and at night before bed.
  • Telling your child they should be proud of themself in addition to telling a child YOU are proud of them. 
  • Advise your child to engage in activities they enjoy, regardless if other join in or not; like playing on the slide even though everyone else wants to swing.

Self Motivation

Being motivated is not a simple feat, so the sooner this essential life skill is incorporated into a routine, it will be automatic by the time they reach adulthood. When external factors are the only stimulus for motivation, what happens when there’s no one around to push you? Teaching the essential life skill of self motivation may look like:

  • Helping your child to create a few long terms goals that require them to put forth effort like using the Pennybank app to save up for a large purchase.
  • Allowing your child to choose an age appropriate hairstyle that required a certain amount of time and dedication for maintenance, teaching them how to maintain said hairstyle and allowing them to engage in a daily or nightly routine for upkeep.
  • Tracking progress can help with self motivation because it gives a visual representation of where your child is/was and where they’re going. Nothing self motivates like seeing results.

By instilling these essential life skills, your child will be better equipped to handle real world situations that aren’t always the most ideal. Taking accountability for their actions, cooperating with others for a common goal, communicating effectively, validating and motivating themselves will provide a foundation for being a successful adult. It’s important not to get lost in the day to day and recognize the bigger picture: they’re only a child for 18 years and the rest is adulthood.

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