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Independent Living Skills

This document is designed to give parents guidance on skills to teach children before they leave home. This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it a list that will fit every parent or child. Skills below are divided into chores and basic life skills. If you would like guidance on boundaries with technology look at the “Family Technology Plan” document. If you would like a more thorough list, please refer to the list from Focus on the Family. Depending on your lifestyle, some of the living skills may be more appropriate for your child than others. It is also likely that as a parent, you may not have all the skills below. That is okay. As culture, technology, and interests change, so will the need to learn/teach some of the skills below. Please feel free to add specific skills that fit your family which may not be listed below. The goal is to help train your child to mature into a healthy, independent adult. As your child gets older, you may also want to ask your child for suggestions of what he/she would like to learn before leaving home.


  • Put pajamas away
  • Pick up toys
  • Undress self
  • Clear off own place at table
  • Throw trash away
  • Potty training
  • Help with simple tasks



  • Tidy up bedroom
  • Dress self
  • Put dirty clothes in wash area
  • Wipe up a spill
  • Set table
  • Clear table
  • Pick up trash in yard
  • Put clothes away

Living Skills:

  • Learn to swim
  • Properly use silverware
  • Basic Hygiene: Brush Teeth, Comb Hair
  • Learn home address and phone number

Elementary School


  • Make own bed
  • Fold and separate clean laundry
  • Feed pets
  • Put groceries away
  • Sweep porches, patios, walks
  • Wipe off chairs and dust furniture
  • Load and Unload dishwasher
  • Clean bathroom
  • Use vacuum cleaner
  • Rake leaves
  • Empty/take out trash

Living Skills:

  • Take bath or shower independently
  • Leave bathroom neat after use
  • Know basic food groups and nutrition
  • Basic food preparation (ex. Make Sandwich)
  • Eat Independently
  • Basic Financial Stewardship (spend, save, give)

Middle School


  • Wash clothes in washer
  • Operate clothes dryer
  • Water house plants
  • Fold blankets neatly
  • Wash car
  • Weed garden
  • Polish car
  • Clean interior of car

Living Skills:

  • Replace light bulbs
  • Scramble eggs
  • Read ingredient labels wisely
  • Know how to use GPS
  • Compare quality and prices
  • Make savings or checking account deposit
  • Know emergency first-aid procedures
  • Demonstrate word-processing skills
  • Understand and use internet appropriately

Junior High


  • Basic spot removal-Laundry
  • Iron clothing
  • Trim trees, shrubs
  • Mow lawn
  • Wash windows
  • Clean a refrigerator
  • Organize garage

Living Skills:

  • Shop for clothing
  • Change vacuum belt, filters, and bag (or clean canister)
  • Unstop a drain with chemicals or plunger
  • Fry/grill hamburger/steak
  • Use a simple budget
  • Properly hang something on wall
  • Set own alarm and get up independently

High School


  • Scrub down walls
  • Clean bathroom tile
  • Clean oven and stove
  • Organize spring house cleaning

Living Skills:

  • Make own meal
  • Plan and shop for groceries for a week
  • Basic Automobile Care (check oil, change tire, etc.)
  • Perform basic first aid and CPR

For complete PDF, click here.

For Further Information:

Parenting with a Purpose: Season Spoke

25 Ways to Provoke Anger in Children