8 Life Skills You Can Teach Your Kids At Home During Quarantine

Updated: May 6, 2020
Many parents are taking this time of social distancing as an opportunity to teach kids life skills they may not learn in school. Here are eight life skills you can easily teach your kids at home with tips on how to introduce the topic and continue to make progress.
8 life skills to teach your kids during quarantine

Though this time of quarantine is filled with challenges and difficult emotions, we can make the most of it as parents by using the time to teach kids life skills that they may not learn in school. Although it might take a little extra work upfront to teach your children a new skill, ultimately it will save you time as they learn to do more for themselves. As your children acquire new life skills, it increases their confidence, helps to make them more independent and responsible, and frees up your time to get the many items on your task list done.

More: Teaching Kindness At Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Here are eight life skills you can teach your kids while they are at home quarantining. Depending on the age and learning style of your children, we’ve suggested sample activities by level of challenge.

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Cooking

You are probably feeling like you’ve never cooked this much in your life as you make your way through quarantine days. Why not share the burden with your children? It could be a new passion for them to fall in love with, a way for them to surprise and celebrate others, or simply a way for them to get the day started with less assistance.

Getting Started: Make sure needed items are within reach or that an appropriate step stool is nearby. Take the time to show the kids what is okay to touch and what is not. (You might consider categorizing pantry or refrigerator shelves in this way.) Provide children with basic instructions, as well as safety lessons, on how to use easy appliances such as the toaster and the microwave. Breakfast items are often the easiest to prepare.
 
Making Progress: Creating a crockpot dinner or dessert is a simple way to inspire confidence because all it involves is throwing the right ingredients into a single pot and then leaving it to cook. The results are in the high-reward category as it produces full dinners or elaborate desserts.
 
Take It To the Next Level: Kids are always ready for a baked treat which will inspire them to get involved with multi-step baking processes. Cupcakes, muffins, and cookies are easy places to start.

Here are 10 Simple Ways to Involve Your Kids in the Kitchen.

Tying Shoes

This is a great skill to come out of quarantine with and really increases independence.

Getting Started: Play with stuffed animals or dolls that wear outfits that contain laces.

Making Progress: Use lacing or threading cards to increase coordination.

Take It to the Next Level: Work on tying their own shoes.

Cleaning

With more people in the house more of the time than ever before, you could probably use a little help with cleaning.

Getting Started: Dusting is an easy place for little ones to start by wearing a dust mitt or by simply using a cloth.

Making Progress: If your child isn’t already able to make her own bed, this is a good time to start. You can increase her responsibility by having her make the other beds in the house too.

Take It to the Next Level: Vacuuming can be done by children of most ages, and younger kids can use a dustbuster or handheld vacuums.

Laundry

It is a huge weight lifted off of parents when children can contribute to the ever-present laundry challenge.

Getting Started: Children can learn to put their laundry into the washer and also how to move it from the washer to the dryer.

Making Progress: If folding the laundry is too challenging, they can sort the laundry into categories and match socks.

Take It to the Next Level: Kids can fold and put away all of their laundry.

Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning

Although we do not want children to go to physical stores during this quarantine time if they don’t have to, they can still plan the grocery list and meals for the week with you and help with online grocery shopping if you are doing curbside pickup or delivery.

Getting Started: Have children join you in looking through the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to determine what items you are low on.

Making Progress: Ask them to keep a running list throughout the week as they notice items getting low or as they think of meals they would like to have the following week.

Take It to the Next Level: Provide them with some parameters for meal planning one specific meal for a full week. Start with breakfast, which is the easiest, and then have them work their way up to dinner.

Donation Sorting

This is a great way to teach kids to help others, sort through their belongings, and avoid clutter.

Getting Started: Going through their own clothing can be an easy start if you show them where the sizes are and tell them to remove any clothing below a certain size.

Making Progress: It can be hard to say goodbye to toys, but suggesting a timeframe for how long it’s been since they last played with a toy as a parameter for donation can be helpful.

Take It to the Next Level: Set this up as a weekly activity that they can be responsible for on their own with instructions to find one thing they would like to donate every week.

Letter Writing

This is a skill that seems to be falling by the wayside, but with distance from loved ones, it’s a perfect time to resurrect it. If you don’t have stamps or are not comfortable mailing something, you can always snap a picture of the letters with your phone and email them.

Getting Started: For children who are not writing on their own, they can draw pictures or dictate letters for you to write.

Making Progress: Teach letter writing format and have your children write letters to friends and loved ones.

Take It to the Next Level: Find the address or email address of local nursing homes, and ask your kids to draw pictures and write letters to the nursing home residents and staff as they could all use extra encouragement and support these days.

Meditation

As we all face new levels of anxiety, sadness, and frustration during quarantine, meditation is a skill that can be helpful for the entire family during this trying time, but also for your entire lives.

Getting Started: Use a children’s meditation podcast or video on YouTube to follow a short guided meditation before bedtime.

Making Progress: Try for longer periods of meditation by extending the time by a minute each week until you get up to ten minutes.

Take It to the Next Level: Meditate together without using a guide to see if you can sit in silence. As you break away from guided meditation, you can take the in between step of listening to nature sounds or white noise to help everyone get comfortable with silence.

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