7 Out-in-the-World Life Skills To Teach Kids

Today I want to talk about out-in-the-world life skills. Part of this is because the topic has been super top of mind as Laurel continues to become increasingly independent, and also just generally because it’s so crucial for kids to be aware of their community and how to get around. Here are 7 out-in-the-world life skills to teach your kids. And if you want to continue to level up your kids’ life skills, see my previous posts: how to negotiate, key library skills, public transit skills, green kitchen skills, grocery store skills, bathroom life skills, home safety skills, home cleaning skills, school lunch skills.

1. Pedestrian/bike safety

Whether your kid is little and still clutching your hand, or is older and commuting on their own, it’s always a good time to reinforce basic pedestrian/bike safety, especially because of the maddening increase of phone usage while driving. Seriously, I am that crazy lady who yells at people if I see them in motion face down in their phone! One lesson I have reinforced repeatedly with Laurel and Violet is to wait until you make eye contact with the drivers in both directions at a crosswalk; just stepping into the crosswalk and assuming people will stop is not enough.

2. Personal safety

There are lots of personal safety touch points to communicate with kids. Talk to them about protecting their personal items. Help them develop a sense of direction and space by identifying routes and landmarks around your neighborhood. Make sure they know key phone numbers by heart. Talk to them about where to ask for help if they need it. And if you have older kids who have phones, OMG please tell them no phone use while in transit...because if they are face down in their phone out in the world it means they are not paying attention to their surroundings and to me this reads TARGET. 

3. Public transit

It’s probably going to be a while until your kid is calling for a ride share service so help them level up their public transit skills! I dedicated an entire post on how to do this!

4. How to be an aware consumer

I think the best place to teach kids about how to be an aware consumer is at the grocery store (you can check out this grocery store skills post for more); you’re already there all the time and there are lots of opportunities to talk about price comparison, consumer values (e.g., ethically produced products), and the importance of supporting local and independent. Laurel and I talked about this quite a bit, actually, when we were in California a couple of weeks ago. We talked about the comparative appeal of going to a small neighborhood with all independently owned stores vs. a sleek outdoor shopping area that had all brands you can buy anywhere. 

5. In your town/city stops

It’s really important for kids to learn how to access basic services right in their community. Teach them how to use the local library (see these key library skills), the bank (open a savings account for them!), and the post office (stamps don’t appear to be going anywhere you guys). Even though I have a color photo printer at home, Laurel also loves heading to the local drugstore to use the photo printing station. And extra bonus points if you can show them what happens at city or town hall and take them with you on voting day so they can get excited about their forthcoming right to vote.

6. Restaurant etiquette

Teach your kids how to navigate a menu, how to order, and about leaving tips. I also always encourage my kids to order for themselves (vs. me ordering for them) because hello, social skills.

7. AirPORT navigation + travel etiquette

I was reminded to include this one because I recently took Laurel to California and will take Violet to Texas soon! Next time you fly, teach your kid about how to look up your gate number, how to navigate through security, how earbuds are a must so everyone else does not need to listen to whatever you are listening to or watching (OMG so many grown ups need to learn this one), and how to wait your turn when it comes to leaving the aircraft. And then as you leave the airport, show how to look for signs to get to baggage claim, ground transportation, etc.

Looking to level up other life skills? Check out these posts: how to negotiate, key library skills, public transit skills, green kitchen skills, grocery store skills, bathroom life skills, home safety skills, home cleaning skills, school lunch skills. And if listening/watching is easier for you, here’s a video version of this post!

7 out-in-the-world life skills to teach kids

7 out-in-the-world life skills to teach kids