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Teaching Kids Independent Living Skills

by K. Nola Mokeyane, studioD

It's essential for parents to teach their children independent living skills, not only to prepare their kids for successful, independent living in adulthood, but also to teach them the importance of taking care of themselves and their environment during childhood. Your child may huff and puff when instructed to keep his room clean, notes licensed psychologist and marriage and family counselor Marie Hartwell-Walker, writing at PsychCentral.com. Completing these tasks, however, helps your child develop respect for responsibility and stability, says Hartwell-Walker, which prepares him for healthy, adult living.


One of the primary, independent living skills your child should learn is how to maintain a clean and orderly environment. Whether your child is 5 or 11 years old, learning to keep his and play areas clean gives him sufficient practice with essential skills for healthy, independent living. Your child will learn most effectively by the example you set forth, says clinical psychologist and author Lisa Firestone, writing at Psychologytoday.com No amount of "Clean your room!" is going to work if your child consistently walks over clothing on your bedroom floor, or has to brush papers to the side when he sits on your bed. Children model what you do over what you say, says Firestone.

Meal Preparation

Because cooking can be hazardous to the uninitiated and inexperienced, it's best for parents to join children when teaching them how to prepare various meals. Preschoolers and younger school-age kids can help with meal preparation by watching, helping stir dishes and setting the table, according to child health experts at KidsHealth. Parents can also allow younger children to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Older school-age children can help their parents measure and mix ingredients, and might be able to prepare uncomplicated meals such as macaroni and cheese with parental supervision. Teaching your child to cook not only prepares him for independent living, but also presents an opportunity for you to bond with one another.


Lessons on proper hygiene practices will benefit your child in the short- and long-term. According to an article on Australia's Child and Youth Health website, good hygiene keeps kids healthy and positively contributes to their self-esteem. Good hygiene includes wearing clean clothes, keeping a clean body and brushed teeth. Again, parents must model this behavior for their children in order for them to deem good hygienic practices as normal, appropriate behavior. Parents can also teach kids to wash their hands often as a good hygiene technique to ward off germs and bacteria that encourage illnesses. As your child gains experience practicing good hygiene, he'll carry these healthy habits into adulthood.

Money Management

KidsHealth experts agree that an allowance can teach children how to manage money, make wise, spending choices, work with a limited budget, save and be charitable toward others. Children don't merely learn this lesson by having an allowance; parents must take the time to set clear boundaries with their children on how much of their money they should save -- such as 10 percent -- and what items should be purchased with their allowance. Your child shouldn't be expected to use her allowance for essential purchases, say KidsHealth experts, such as food or clothing. You can also help your child budget his allowance until his next "pay day" by encouraging him to determine how much money he can spend daily.

About the Author

K. Nola Mokeyane has written professionally since 2006, and has contributed to various online publications, including "Global Post" and Modern Mom. Nola enjoys writing about health, wellness and spirituality. She is a member of the Atlanta Writer's Club.

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