Teach Your Child Life Skills

Waiting to hear from colleges or employers can be anxiety producing. Waiting for answers during a global pandemic can be petrifying. As you and your child are wondering what’s next, there’s a lot you can do to ease the transition by teaching your child life skills.

Teach your child to do laundry. Most colleges provide “free” machines which you pay for with tuition, so your child probably won’t need quarters. He will need to know how to run the machines and how to use detergent. If necessary, teach your child to sort colors. Teach your child how often to wash clothing, towels, and sheets. Believe me, many kids don’t know they’re supposed to wash their sheets and towels. Teach your child not to forget to move clothes from the washer to the dryer. Since I often forget to move the laundry over, I’m not setting a great example. However, I taught my child to set a timer on his phone reminding him to move his laundry. Teach your child about the magic of while vinegar for the times he forgets there’s laundry in the washing machine.

Teach your child about nutrition. Many children haven’t had to make food choices. Lovingly prepared home cooked meals don’t offer pizza and burgers as a side dish. Teach your children how to choose protein, fruits, and veggies instead of cereal for every meal. Most colleges require freshmen to be on a 19 meal plan, so plenty of food will be provided.

Teach your child executive management skills. Homework, projects, and exams will be assigned in all classes. Teach your child how to divide a project into parts so she can meet deadlines. If you’re constantly reminding your child to do homework or study for tests, now is the time to back off and let your child control his schedule. Many colleges have centers which help with executive management skills, but your student will need to seek help on his own.

Teach your children to speak with professors and other adults in charge. We teach our kids to respect adults and that needn’t change. Many of us haven’t taught our children how to speak up for themselves in a respectful manner. Questioning authority isn’t rude or wrong. If your child is shy and uncomfortable raising her hand in class, teach her to email the professor with questions. It’s okay to question a grade. I was an adjunct professor and welcomed questions. When a student expressed concern over a grade, it meant he or she cared about the class. I often created extra credit projects for students to improve their grades. However, the extra credit option was only available to students who took initiative because I created projects based on the topic the student found difficult.

Teach your child to make time for exercise, relaxation, and fun. There are many unscheduled hours at college. Your child must find time for self-care. If your child doesn’t enjoy the gym, teach him to go for walks. Teach your child that “me time” is a good, healthy thing. If you’re not already setting aside “me time” for yourself, now is a great time to start. “Me time” is anything you find relaxing. It can be going for a run to clear your mind, making TikTok videos or watching Netflix. The goal is to feel restored after doing a favorite activity.

The world will resume some form of normalcy, and when it does, your child will be prepared.


  1. The child should at least be taught basic values of relationships, how to communicate with others, family, morals, etc. Respect for others and themselves. To use their manners in everything they do. Saying thank you, excuse me, please and all those nice words are something kids should be taught to say at an early age. As you shared that "Teach your children to speak with professors and other adults in charge" I also highly recommend this because this thing will up their confidence level. Teach them to take decisions. Start down with the basic choices they make. Decision making is an essential part of their life they should excel at. They should be able to differentiate between good and bad decisions and their benefits and repercussions.


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