Posted in Positive Parenting, Therapy

Comprehensive List of Life Skills for Children Ages 2 to 18


Life Skills are the tools your child needs to succeed in life… The skills they don’t teach you in school.  Do teachers teach some of these skills?  Of course!  This is a great guide for Parents.

Please note that all skills should be taught under adult supervision.  Many take months, if not years to master.  Do not assume that your child has failed if they are behind.  Children learn best by working alongside you.  Helping to prepare your child for life with some basic skills will make them a more independent, productive adult.                      Teach them when they’re young and interested!

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 bookshelves
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Know own phone number
  • Know own address
  • Help empty dishwasher
  • Help bring in groceries
  • Sit quietly in church (looking at books or drawing quietly is okay)
  • 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 bathroom trash
  • Organize bathroom drawers
  • Learn to roller skate
  • Learn to jump rope
  • Learn to ride a bike
  • Begin learning how to tie shoes

 Age 6

  • Organize own drawers and 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
  • Empty kitchen trash

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
  • 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
  • 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

  • Take a babysitting course through the local hospital
  • Make deposits and withdrawals at the bank
  • Volunteer at the library or food 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
  • Have a work experience (paid or unpaid) with responsibilities and set hours.

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

The quicker you can pass on chores to your offspring, the more responsibility they’ll have, and the less you’ll have to do! Make sure you are expecting great things from your children, and start them on the road to independence with these 43 chores for kids:

Toddlers (18 Months – 2 Years)

1. Wiping baseboards with duster or dry rag

2. Taking laundry to appropriate room — tell them where the items go and see whether or not they remember after the first few times you do this chore with them.

3. Matching socks — also a good skill for teaching concepts of “same” and “different”

4. Bringing safe, unbreakable dishes in from table, clearing table

5. Putting safe, unbreakable items on table (napkins, cups)

6. Picking up toys — they may not want to, but they can

7. Putting stuffed animals on bed in the morning

8. Pushing the laundry basket to appropriate room

9. Putting trash in wastebasket

10. Putting clothes in hamper

11. Handing adult an item from grocery bag

Preschoolers (3 – 5 Years)

12. Wiping windows with cloth and spray bottle filled with water

13. Setting the table

14. Clearing table

15. Putting dishes in sink or dishwasher

16. Drying dishes

17. Sweeping small messes with hand broom

18. Put away laundry in correct places — teach him how to carry folded items so they won’t come unfolded

19. Folding simple clothing items — jeans and pants

20. Sort laundry by family member

21. Dusting with a dry cloth or dust mitt

22. Wiping low windowsills with a damp cloth

23. Bringing newspaper in from outside

24. Wiping spots on kitchen floor with wet rag

25. Putting books on bookshelf correctly

26. Helping water garden

27. Pulling weeds — teach him which ones are weeds, and which ones are not

28. Pulling sheets up, straightening sheets on bed

29. Helping carry laundry basket

30. Assisting adult in the kitchen with measuring, pouring dry ingredients, stirring and mixing

31. Hanging up coat and hat

32. Carrying small bags of groceries

33. Assist in putting away groceries

5 – 7 Year Olds

34. Folding their shirts and other clothing items — teach them how to do it, and don’t expect perfection

35. Sweeping the floor — consider getting a short broom if the regular one is awkward for her to use

36. Emptying small trash cans/wastebaskets into trash bag

37. Straightening books on bookshelf

38. Wiping table after a meal

39. Making bed

40. Putting items in car

41. Picking up trash in car

42. Picking out clothes and dressing without assistance

43. Helping prepare their own lunch — sandwiches, simple side items

Original Sources:


Mother, Pediatric Nurse and a Trail Blazer for Positive Change.

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