15 Life Skills Your Kid Needs To Know To Get Ready for the Real World

Graduating high school is a major milestone, but it’s not just about getting good grades and landing a job.

Like Skills

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Life skills like budgeting, cooking, and communication are just as important for success after graduation. They set the foundation for independence and help young adults navigate real-world challenges. But with limited time in the classroom, it’s up to parents and schools to ensure these essential skills are taught before graduation.

Life Skills 101

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Recently someone asked Reddit, “What’s a life skill all kids should learn before they graduate high school?”

They did not specify whether they meant skills that parents should teach their children or skills kids should learn in school, so the answers were a mix of the two. However, these are all important life skills that people should properly know before they turn 18!

The answers have been lightly edited for clarity.

1. Money Management

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“Money management,” wrote one person; someone added, “Taking a financial math and budgeting class could be very beneficial. Topics would include budgeting, compound interest, basic investing, loans, and taxes.”

While many schools teach personal finance, not only is it important for kids to really learn the basics of budgeting and personal finances, but parents should also teach their kids about money.

Related: 34 Best Money Books for Teens and Young Adults 

2. How To Read

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While this may seem like a no-brainer because reading is so important, apparently, not everyone knows how to read. Someone wrote, “How to read. I’ve met some illiterate kids who somehow managed to make it to high school.”

Related: Why Is Reading Important? 20 Powerful Benefits of Reading Books 

3. How To Use a Ruler

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“I was a TA in grad school, and I had to teach a 30-something-year-old in my 100-level lab section how to use a ruler. She knew how to count inches and feet, but she didn’t understand the concept of how tick marks divide up smaller units. We made them use the metric system (because it was a science class), and I legit had to explain how the metric side of the ruler worked the same as the imperial unit’s side,” wrote one person.

While using a ruler may seem basic, not everyone knows how to use one.

4. First Aid and CPR

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“First Aid and CPR,” someone wrote.

This is such an important tool to have, and it could quite literally be a life-changing skill. Knowing the basics of CPR can save someone’s life, which is so important.

5. Taxes

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“How to file your own taxes,” someone said. A lot of people seemed to think that this shouldn’t be taught because it is easy, but someone wrote a long paragraph in defense of teaching high-schoolers about taxes:

“There’s more to it, though. Stuff kids wouldn’t necessarily be aware of in high school because their parents usually deal with that stuff. Like health insurance, statements from student loans, etc. – just the names of all the forms so they can be familiar with how the process works. Like yeah, taxes are mostly plug-and-chug, but teaching people what the forms actually mean is really helpful. Like it’d probably be really helpful to show kids a couple of W-2s and break down exactly what everything means on there.”

Related: What Tax Bracket Am I In?

6. Basic Life Skills

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“Change a tire, build a fire, make a meal from scratch, and grow a garden,” wrote one person. Another added, “Really, all basic car maintenance! How to properly check your oil, top-up fluids, etc.”

7. How To Swim

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“How to swim,” wrote one person. Knowing how to swim is an important life skill and is good for everyone.

8. Cooking and Home Care

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FreeProd via DepositPhotos.com.

“Basic cooking and home care,” one person wrote. Another wrote, “Starting in 6th grade, our school has home and careers ( modern home, etc.) the kids absolutely love it. They learn basic cooking, sewing, some money aspects. Not sure how I’m depth that goes. My oldest is in 8 this year and just started it this semester. It’s by far everyone’s favorite class.”

Related: The Secret Household Hacks Your Mom Never Told You 

9. Public Speaking

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“How to talk in front of a group of people, or even just a single person. I see so many kids that cannot function in this simple social interaction,” someone said.

This is such a good skill to have!

10. How To Sew

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OlgaZakrevskaya via DepositPhotos.com.

“Sewing, even knowing how to do a few basic repairs such as sewing a button back on, can be super useful, and it doesn’t take that long to learn,” someone suggested.

Sewing is a great skill to have and will help you save money on repairs and reduce your waste!

11. Coding

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“Coding – a high school student would graduate with a marketable skill, and I think it’s safe to say that computers are here to stay. We need to step up on this effort,” someone suggested.

12. Personal Development

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“Personal development: Positive mindset, leadership, open-mindedness, critical thinking, etc….our school systems tend to generate children who are more like educated robots, not well-rounded, curious people with skills necessary to cope with and manage life (including failure and success)…these are actually skills and opportunities for learning and practicing,” someone said.

This is a great idea!

13. Anger and Stress Management

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“Anger and stress management/how to manage emotions and where to focus energy. I went to a special kind of high school that taught these skills, among others mentioned, and I still use what I learned all those years ago in my day-to-day life. Nothing has been more valuable to me in my day-to-day life,” someone shared.

That would be an amazing thing if everyone knew how to do this.

14. How To Be Healthy

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Someone wrote, “How to be healthy, both physically and mentally,” and they added, “and we don’t even need extra subjects for that. They would fit perfectly into Biology and Psychology.”

Related:5 Ways To Eat Healthy Food on a Budget 

15. How To Write

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“The ability to write. The state of literacy for some people is appalling,” someone wrote.

They continued, “PARAGRAPHS ARE OUR FRIENDS. Also, the spelling. The emails that I receive make me despair for my country’s educational system. I very occasionally used to get people to write things up that I would tweak if we were pushed for time. I only ever did this with clients I thought were sensible. Never again. Every single time the result would have made an English teacher cry. I always spent more time fixing it than I would have just writing the d*** thing for them.”

Life Skills

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Whether we teach these skills to kids in school or whether parents take it upon themselves to teach their kids all these important life skills, these life skills are all important for everyone to learn.

I hope you enjoyed this Reddit list of life skills all kids should know before they leave high school. Check out These  21 Life Lessons From the Elder Generation before you go.


This post originally appeared on A Dime Saved.

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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.