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Hands-On Life Skills Parents Need To Teach Their Kids – But Aren’t

Today’s kids are at a disadvantage when entering the real world. A lack of hands-on skills to perform basic tasks is leaving kids scared and confused. 

Recent statistics from around the world show concerning numbers in kids’ ability to “self-sustain.” While we would all love to hire people to do many of these tasks for us, it is cost-prohibitive for most. 

With many schools limiting—or removing—programs like woodworking, auto shop, and cooking, it is more important than ever that parents step up. Not only is teaching kids these skills important, but it is also a seriously good way to bond with them!

Read a Map

girl reading map

Despite the convenience of interactive maps like Google, kids must learn to read traditional maps because digital signals can be unreliable or lost in remote areas. There is also a chance that interactive maps can be wrong – putting drivers at risk, like the man who died driving while following Google Maps. 

Kids need to be able to learn to navigate without the dependency on GPS or navigation tools.

Mow a Lawn

overhead view man mowing lawn
Ivan Radic/Flickr

Unless you live at the beach or in the desert, mowing a lawn will probably be necessary at some point. Gas-powered and electric mowers are both options that should be discussed.

Change a Tire

young man changing tire

Do you really want your teenage son or daughter sitting on the side of the road waiting for someone to help them? Probably not! Yes, AAA can come out – but they may need to wait a while, and of course that comes with a cost. Changing a tire is easy and could be a money saving opportunity.

A US study done in 2018 found that 36 percent of adults admitted to not being able to fix a flat tire. We can only guess that number is higher now. Until we live in a world where airless tires reign supreme, learning to change a tire is a must. 

Unclog A Drain

water going down drain

Plumbers can easily cost $100 per hour or more for even the most basic fixes. Clogged drains happen, and when one does, it would be great if your kid could fix it on their own. Providing them with the tools to diagnose and options for finding a fix can save big in the long run.

Do Laundry

laundromat wall of washers

Every parent should jump at the opportunity to have their kids do their laundry. Sadly, that is not the case. My daughter, who has been doing her own laundry since middle school, was shocked to see how many college kids could not use a washer or dryer. But hey, at least she made some money helping them. 

Call a Repair Person

woman home repair plumbing

Sometimes, a project is too big to tackle alone. Unfortunately, today’s young adults are not properly equipped to make a call to ask for help. How do they find someone reliable? What questions should they ask? What should they know so as not to get ripped off? 

Assemble Furniture

put together furniture frustration

Young adults often purchase furniture in a box that needs to be assembled. This cost-effective option is perfect for starting out on a tight budget, but it requires skills. Every kid should be taught how to read instructions (which are often confusing) and get hands-on experience building furniture before leaving the nest. 

Change A Lightbulb

different lightbulbs on a table

We assume everyone knows how to change a lightbulb, but the sad reality is that not everyone does. A survey from the UK found that 84% of 18 – 24 year olds do not know how to change a bulb.

Kids should learn how to change a lightbulb and understand the various types of lightbulbs that exist. 

Check Car Oil and Fluids

checking car fluids

We should at least teach our kids to check their oil, windshield wiper fluid, and antifreeze. Knowing how to check these for proper levels can save a lot on maintenance and repairs. Even things like the check engine light should be discussed to help them understand when they need to get service assistance.

In a study by Cooper Tires, 33% of adults stated they would be unable to pick the correct oil their car needed. 

Use Basic Tools

tools hanging on garage wall

Young adults would benefit from learning how to use a variety of tools like wrenches, screwdrivers, or drills. These tools can help them assemble furniture hang wall displays, or even do basic home repairs. 

Drywall Patching

man doing drywall
Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

Drywall is standard in many apartments and homes. Roughhousing, parties, and other mishaps are common among young adults. Being able to do these repairs independently will save money and the frustration of long wait times for repairmen. 


woman carrying two paint buckets

From walls to cabinets, there will come a time when a color change is wanted – or needed. Could your kid identify when to use a brush versus a roller? Do they understand the different types of paint and what they are good for? Do they know about tape and tricks to get a great finish? Some may think painting is easy – but there are many things to learn to get it right. 

There are many other skills that should be learned in addition to the above. Cooking, communication, and financial skills are other items surveys are showing a decline in. 

What Could Really Happen In A Global Economic Collapse

rioting with police
Ale_Mi / Depositphotos

We seriously hope we never find out the realities, but if a societal economic collapse should happen – we could be in trouble. 

Read about economic collapse possibilities

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