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Life Skills By Age 5

Posted on January 22, 2014
By Nikki Martinez

You’ve probably heard it a bunch of times, “Kids learn at different rates.”

Because every person is unique, this statement is totally true! But what about your child who’s on the right growth track already? Well, there are a few goals, or skills for life, that you could guide them towards as they inch to that magic age of 5. Now don’t freak out at the list that writer Jill Smokler put together here, these are suggestions (even though you know your little angel IS growing-up and WILL need these to function at school):



1. How to pick out weather-appropriate clothing

“It’s easy for them to ask me what tomorrow’s weather is supposed to be, and then to choose the right wardrobe for it. If not, they may have to learn the hard way that shorts and sandals aren’t the best choice for late fall in Maryland. And at their age, they’d better be able to tie their shoes and zip their coat.”


3. How to clean themselves up

“There comes a stage when Mommy or Daddy does not need to be present during a bath or shower, because a kid has learned what to wash and how to wash it appropriately. It’s best that we reach this stage sooner than later, because every year you wait, it gets more awkward.”


5. How to use and answer a phone

“Appropriate: ‘Hello? This is Mommy’s phone. She can’t take your call right now.’ Not appropriate: ‘Hello? This is Mommy’s phone. She’s pooping.’ Related: How to speak clearly and politely when on the phone with Grandma.”


7. How to pack their own lunch

“This is something that I gradually introduce as they get older, but it’s not rocket science. And when they finally do it themselves—this is important—there will be no complaining about what they had for lunch. It’s on you, kid.”




9. How to talk to an adult

“This is basic politeness, like shaking hands, accepting a compliment, and not mumbling your name when asked. Especially understanding that ‘Yo, s’up?’ is not an appropriate greeting.”


2. How to keep foreign objects out of bodily orifices

“No nasty coins in the mouth. No pencils up the nose. No Skittles in the ear. Follow this simple rule and we avoid a humiliating trip to the emergency room.”




4. How to make a snack

“It is not hard to pour a bowl of cereal, as long as your milk containers aren’t too big. Nor is it hard to make a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. Unless it involves the use of sharp cutlery, kids, you can make your own snack.”



6. How to wipe

“I’m trying to think of one thing in life that’s better than the day when your youngest learns to wipe his own bum?”



8. How to do basic housework

“Kids can learn how to make their own bed, set the table, dust a shelf, sweep a floor, pick up dog poop. Older kids can start the dishwasher or put away their own laundry. Maybe even do the laundry. Get them in the habit of taking care of themselves. They absolutely need to know how to do these things before they leave the house and set out on their own. If not, they might come back … with laundry.”


10. How to ask a stranger for help

“We’re always telling kids not to talk to strangers, but if my youngest is lost at the mall, I want him to find the appropriate stranger to talk to. A policeman or—better yet—a kindly grandmother. If something terrible happens, I need to know my kid will get help from a nice and responsible and non-creepy adult.”




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