"Just teach your kids how to do stuff!" – 10 Practical skills every parent should impart on their child

"Can I help you with that?"
"Can I help you with that?"

Disclaimer: this article contains profanity. 

It seems that lately, many young people lack the basic life skills required to take care of themselves. I saw a post on Reddit titled "Just teach your f*** kids how to do s***, in which the user says, "I'm so freaking sick of hearing people bitch and moan that their kids don't have basic skills to function and act like they have no idea why. STOP ACTING LIKE YOU'RE AMAZED YOUR KIDS NEVER LEARNED SKILLS YOU NEVER TAUGHT THEM."

What's a skill you feel is necessary for children to learn? Send us your comments and we could publish them. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous. 

Parents are quick to use the "back in my day" line, but things are different now because they clearly didn't adopt all the same parenting methods their own parents did and the societal norms of parenting have changed.

There are, however, certain aspects of old-school parenting that would be helpful today, such as teaching your children the basics, the bare minimum even. I know some people in their twenties who don't know how to do something as simple as frying an egg, imagine that.

I know at some point, you're responsible for teaching yourself all the things your parents didn't, but there are simple things that parents should teach their children from a young age if they want to avoid ending up with an overgrown baby one day.

Even with little ones, it can really free up more of your time, even a little, if your 5-year-old takes back their own plates, cups and lunchboxes to the kitchen.

Also see: Future skills: 7 essential skills your kids should learn at school to succeed in the future

Here are the simple things you should teach your children to do at home: 

1. Know the value of money and how to work with it

Many young children have quite a distorted view on money and older children find it hard to differentiate between wants and needs sometimes.

Teaching children about money and budgeting from a young age will instill a sense of responsible spending in them, something they can carry for a lifetime.

2. Wash the dishes

I know this seems simple enough but many people do a pretty sloppy job at washing dishes. 

From making sure the water is soapy enough, cleaning under the drying rack and not putting your whole hand inside a glass when washing it, there's a lot of little things to learn.

3. Do their own laundry 

At some point, children are going to need to do their own laundry. Don't only teach them to operate a washing machine, but the rules about washing, water temperature, colour mixing, checking washing instructions, etc.

Also see: Printable: Age-appropriate chores for children

4. Direction

Some adults are pretty bad with direction (like me) so making sure your children can navigate their way through places from a young age will only benefit them.

5. Looking after a plant or pet

Having to look after a living thing will teach children a great about of responsibility and that their actions have consequences. 

If you're not ready to commit to a new pet, try having your child look after a plant instead.

6. Simple cooking 

You don't need to teach your child how to cook gourmet dishes, the basics will do. Making an egg, boiling rice, operating a stove and oven, chopping and peeling are a few of the helpful skills they should work on. Obviously, don't let a small child loose on hot and sharp implements!

Also see: WATCH: How to make chores fun for you and your kids

7. Simple sewing skills

You don't have to go all out here and whip out the sewing machine, but teaching your child how to hand stitch is a pretty practical skill when they have little clothing emergencies.

8. Cleaning

Not exactly everyone's favourite, but cleaning is something we've all got to learn. From making up your bed to cleaning a toilet, play some tunes and get cracking.

9. Punctuality

Hopefully you're already an example to your children where punctuality is concerned, but either way, teach them the importance of waking up early and having good time management. All the people I know who are always on time generally have parents who value punctuality.

10. How to place orders and speak on the phone  

Many adults get nervous to speak on the phone or even place their own orders at a restaurant. By making them do these things from a young age, they'll gain the confidence to do it without hesitation when they're older.

Also see: 15 things that should be taught in SA's schools

What the parents have to say: 

"I can't tell you how many 16 year olds I've seen that don't know how to work a washer or can't boil an egg" 


"I don't have to do laundry anymore" 

"My husband was so useless when we met, I had to teach him everything. I'm not letting that happen to my kids"

"Some people only teach their daughters to do these thing but not their sons... wtf?" 


Another lucky parent 


Also see: Help your child study effectively

"I think it's hilarious when parents complain about their kids as if they had NOTHING to do with how their kids were raised" 

"My kids can do that stuff because I went through the trouble to teach them how to do things"

Chat back

What's a skill you feel is necessary for children to learn? Send us your comments and we could publish them. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous. 

Read more:

How to ensure that you're raising your children right

7 ways the world is becoming a better place for our children

How much say should parents have over their child's hairstyle? One mom got an earful when she turned to the internet for answers

Sign up for Parent24's newsletters.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 722 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 8497 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 1015 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.