20 Things all Parents Should Teach their Kids

by Sarah - Craft Invaders

As parents, we are bombarded with information on how we should be raising our kids. Attachment Parenting, Internet Safety, Stranger Danger and Sugar Smart are all current parenting buzz words in the UK. They are, of course, all important aspects of parenting, but I sometimes wonder, whether, with so much information out there, do we fail to see the wood for the trees, and forget some of the other equally important lessons we should be teaching our kids?


As parents, we are bombarded with information on how we should be raising our kids. Here is my list of 20 things all parents should teach their kids...


Here is my list of 20 things all parents should teach their kids…


1. To respect themselves and the values of others.

Recognising that we are all individuals, with different values and beliefs is a fundamental lesson that needs to be learned by everyone. Understanding that others may have a different viewpoint, or experience to our own, fosters respect and open-mindedness in our young people.

It’s important to teach kids that we’re not all the same, and that treating others with respect means both taking the time to get to know them, and trying to see where they’re coming from – we are all different, and that is something to be celebrated rather than fearful of.


2. To take responsibility for their actions.

Learning from the mistakes we make, and more importantly learning to put things right, is a fundamental skill which is invaluable throughout life. We all do stupid things, but the ability to turn a negative into a positive, is a skill that will prove useful throughout our lives.

Kids often say hurtful things to their friends. Encouraging them to make things right, rather than just avoiding the situation, encourages both a sense of emotional well-being and honesty.


3. Learn to negotiate, take turns and resolve dilemmas.

Kids need time with other kids to learn these skills. It is easy, as parents, to get in the habit of acting as referee. Encourage your kids to sort out their own differences, and give them time alone together to develop these skills.


4. Learn to accept disappointment.

We all want our kids to thrive and succeed. But learning to come second, or indeed carrying out an activity purely for the pleasure of taking part in it, is just as important.

Learning to be proud of the effort you have put it, despite the outcome is such positive lesson for kids to learn. Wanting to do well is great, doing the best you can is to be applauded.


5. Make friends and socialise.

Encouraging kids to develop solid social skills prepares them for a lifetime of healthy interactions, and are an integral part of functioning in society. Good manners and communication, being considerate of the feelings of others and expressing personal needs are all essential skills to learn in childhood.


6. How to manage boredom.

It is essential for children to learn for themselves how to use periods of unstructured time, as this not only allows for unstructured play and creativity, but it also helps develop time management skills.

If you are looking for ideas to give kids to encourage them to entertain themselves, check out our 10 Activities to get the kids outside this holiday.


7. Question things in the right way.

We should all have the confidence to question things, even as children. Learning that adults are not always right is a valuable lesson for kids to learn. The key is learning to do it in a way which is polite and respectful.


8. Hard work and practice.

In my opinion, developing the mindset of trying your hardest, and doing your best is a skill that will help you succeed throughout your life. Even in tasks that we don’t immediately excel in, practice makes all the difference. Kids need to learn that you can do almost anything, if you’re willing to work really, really hard at it.


9. To take responsibility for their health and hygiene.

As a nurse, I have always found it frustrating how many people refuse to take ownership of their own health, referring to the medical profession for the mildest ailment. Of course, if you feel you are seriously ill, you should seek medical advice, but it is important that we take responsibility for our own bodies, and this, I believe, starts in childhood. Teach your kids if they are getting itchy or sore to wash and dry themselves properly. If they feel tired and run down to take time out, and rest. Our bodies are our home – learning to listen to them, and care for them is an essential part of taking responsibility for oneself.


10. To take responsibility for their Safety.

Children face challenging situations every day at home, at school, online, and out and about. We cant, as parents, always be there to protect and guide them. Teaching kids the skills of assessing situations, and how and when to seek help, teaches critical thinking and equips them with invaluable knowledge – one simple exercise you can try as a family is to talk through a ‘what would you do if…’ scenario together, perhaps once a week over a family meal.


11. Learn to swim.

Around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. (Royal Life Saving Society UK)

All kids should learn to swim. As well as it helping them to maintain their safety around water, swimming is a brilliant all-round exercise.


12. First Aid.

Medical emergencies and dangerous situations can happen at any time, and as kids become more independent ,there is more chance of them coming across a situation without an adult there to take the lead.

First aid training can literally save people’s lives and there are many other benefits to learning it – learning to assess a situation and maintain your own and others safety, increased knowledge of how the body works and maintaining health, and the confidence that learning a new skill develops. First Aid for Free offer an online First Aid course which is free to everyone.


13. Cook.

Everyone should be able to cook, and nutrition is fundamental to our health. Cooking is not only fun, but it teaches us to follow directions, maths and science skills, motor skills, as well as helping us learn the basis of good nutrition, time management and money management – it seems daft not to learn!

If you are looking for some inspiration on how to teach your kids to cook check out our Egg and Bacon Spaghetti which is a great recipe for kids to start with.


14. Tie a knot.

Tying up gates, washing lines, boats, shoe laces, fishing lines, your brother (don’t do this, you get in trouble!) and making dens – there must be thousands of times when you need a knot. All kids should learn to tie them.


15. Write a letter.

Emails, texts and communicating through social media means that we no longer write letters so often, and many believe that it’s becoming a dying art. There are still times, however, when writing a letter is appropriate, and its important to have the skills to hand for when the need arises.

Thank you letters may seem like a waste of time to kids, but to our older generation they represent respect, contact and good manners, and are a joy to receive. Do your kids understand that this is why we ask them to write them?


16. Read a map.

Exploration is a huge part of human nature. The skill of reading a map not only allows you to know where you are, and see where you are going, but also allows you to put your surroundings in context – opening your eyes up to the bigger picture. Studying a map is a pleasure, as well as fabulous exercise for your brain, and they document our past as well as our present.

You can find our guide for teaching basic map reading skills to kids here.


17. How to use tools/sew/fix/iron/make a cup of tea/light a fire.

Kids are extremely capable, much more so than we give them credit for. It’s a fact of life today, that we live in a busy world, and it is often much faster to do tasks ourselves as parents, than watch our toddlers spend half an hour peeling a potato. There is also the concern of safety – I have injured myself on an iron, making a cup of tea, hammering… in fact on all the things I am suggesting kids should be doing. Those injuries I sustained through childhood made me more careful and learn to carry out those tasks, and use those tools properly.


18. How to approach animals.

Young kids seem to be instinctively drawn to animals, and it is important to teach them to approach with respect and care. They should be taught to always ask the owners, before approaching someone’s pet. It will not only help keep them safe, but also educate them on how to treat animals for life.


19. Managing money.

We have all heard stories of adults spending beyond their means, and getting into financial difficulty. Money management is a crucial skill needed in today’s society, and on that basis, it is crucial that kids get the opportunity to develop the skill. Encouraging kids to portion their money, spending some, while setting some aside, gives them the opportunity to start practising this skill.


20 . Road safety.

Worldwide, an estimated 1.2 million people are killed in road crashes each year and as many as 50 million are injured. (World Health Organisation)

Kids need to know how dangerous roads are. They need to learn how to behave around them, and as they get older, on them. Teaching kids an awareness of what is going on in their surroundings is vital for their safety, and there are plenty of online resources to help facilitate this.

This is not an exhaustive list, but they are all skills and lessons that I believe are essential for kids to learn. I would love to hear if you agree, disagree and what you would add to it – please leave a comment and let me know.


As parents, we are bombarded with information on how we should be raising our kids. Here is my list of 20 things all parents should teach their kids...

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Kids of the Wild May 10, 2017 - 8:35 am

This is a really thoughtful set of guidelines for parenting,

Sarah - Craft Invaders May 12, 2017 - 6:09 pm

Thank you Lucy. There are, of course, many other things that are important but these are skills I think all kids can benefit from learning 🙂

Saira May 9, 2017 - 8:59 pm

Absolutely love your list! My aim as a parent is to teach my smalls to be the best version of themselves that they can be. I have certainly taking on board some aspects of your list and will be implementing them asap!
Thanks for the great read

Sarah - Craft Invaders May 12, 2017 - 5:59 pm

Thanks for your kind comment Saira, and I totally agree with your aim – that’s exactly how I see our role as parents 🙂

Patty May 1, 2016 - 10:03 pm

Excellent List. I like, not only the taking responsibility part but also the trying to see were others are coming from or to understand them. We can’t shelter ourselves or our kids any more. Knowledge is protection too.
your co host
Patty from the Pinterest Game

Sarah - Craft Invaders May 6, 2016 - 9:58 pm

Thank you Patty, I think its so important to learn to consider other peoples views – so many people just look inwards 🙂

Krista April 29, 2016 - 2:28 pm

Really great list. Number 2 jumped out at me. I think unfortunately less and less our children are taught to take responsibility for their actions. Resulting in them becoming adults that blame everyone else for EVERYTHING! Instead of standing on their own two feet.

Sarah - Craft Invaders May 1, 2016 - 11:13 am

Definitely Krista, the blame culture is vile isn’t it?

MMT April 28, 2016 - 9:50 pm

I couldn;t agree more – some great things on the list. I taught my 4 year old how to dial 999 last week. Starting her young with some lifesaving skills!
Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

Sarah - Craft Invaders May 1, 2016 - 11:10 am

That’s such a good idea MMT, it’s another thing that is easily over-looked 🙂

laura dove April 28, 2016 - 5:21 pm

This is such a great list!! So many things that I had never actually sat and thought of, I have saved this amongst my favourites. #coolmumclub

Sarah - Craft Invaders May 1, 2016 - 11:08 am

Thanks Laura, many of them are really simple, but I think that its sometimes the simple things that we overlook 🙂

Agent Spitback April 14, 2016 - 12:29 pm

This is a great list! As my children are older, I can really see the value of what you have listed! Learning to deal with disappointment and taking responsibility and ownership are so crucial to a healthy self image. Though I must cry at the inclusion of swimming on your list – sadly I agree but it is a nightmare with my youngest. Almost as if I am making him do homework!!! Thanks for linking with #PasstheSauce

Sarah - Craft Invaders April 14, 2016 - 9:22 pm

Swimming lessons are tricky – both mine have been through various reluctant stages, it really can be a nightmare x

Carly aka Mummy April 12, 2016 - 2:18 pm

What a well thought out list. I like to think Ido a lot of these things now but some will become more important as my kids get older. #passthesauce

Sarah - Craft Invaders April 14, 2016 - 9:04 pm

Thanks Carly. I’m sure there’s plenty of other things that could be added, but it does get you thinking about what are the skills we all need 🙂

Anna Brophy April 12, 2016 - 11:46 am

Loads of things to consider. Hopefully much of this list is role modeled…but so much to be aware of in our homes. Thanks for the ideas. #passthesauce

Sarah - Craft Invaders April 12, 2016 - 12:45 pm

You are right Anna, many of these things we teach without even thinking about it, and of course we all have different views on what is important. Thanks for popping by 🙂

Starr March 29, 2016 - 12:34 pm

I love this list and will be sharing it with my hubby and my 2 girls! You are spot on with your suggestions!

Sarah - Craft Invaders April 1, 2016 - 9:41 pm

Thanks Starr, I’m really pleased you like it 🙂

Brittany Putman March 28, 2016 - 3:37 pm

I’m not a parent yet but I love reading all these great tips. Children have so much to learn and parents just have to do what they can.

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 28, 2016 - 8:23 pm

Thanks for visiting, Brittany, and taking the time to comment. You are absolutely right, all we can do is our best 🙂

Christina March 28, 2016 - 3:31 pm

Great ideas! I especially love the part about handling boredom. That is SO important! It’s so easy to just throw activities at our kids to keep their hands busy but they need to keep their minds busy too! Learning to solve their own boredom does just that! Looking forward to getting to know you better through your writing!

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 28, 2016 - 8:28 pm

Thank you Christina, I have just been reading your great list 🙂 Boredom is such an important thing to experience – I am sure a great many awesome ideas have resulted from people having the opportunity to just think 🙂

Cristina at Ava's Alphabet March 28, 2016 - 3:05 pm

Great list! Wow, parenting is a big responsibility, isn’t it? Basic skills are just as important as the big life stuff. Your post has such a nice balance of each. I love it!

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 28, 2016 - 8:31 pm

It really is, Cristina 🙂 I’m a great advocate of learning the basic skills – I certainly have no plans of cooking and cleaning for them forever!

Su {Ethan & Evelyn} March 17, 2016 - 6:06 pm

This is a great list. I still need to teach Ethan how to tie a knot. Thank you for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost I have pinned this under “motherhood”. Hope you don’t mind. 🙂

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 24, 2016 - 1:20 pm

Thanks Sue, and thanks for pinning 🙂

Sapana March 17, 2016 - 2:52 pm

a perfect list. Most challenging I find is: teaching my kids dealing with disappointment. My elder son last year won medals on sports day, this year nothing. He was so much disappointed. he wanted me to buy him a medal. It took me 2-3 days to make him understand meaning of loss and win. and much efforts matter more than winning.

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 24, 2016 - 1:25 pm

I agree disappointment is a really difficult lesson to learn, and teach. Thanks for visiting us 🙂

Nikki Frank-Hamilton March 15, 2016 - 12:03 am

Sarah, this is the most incredible list! I’m not sure which one I like best, but I do love that you encourage your kids to know themselves, respect themselves and others. I think our kids are so busy nowadays that they don’t learn who they are, what they like, and who they want to be known as. The other traits or lessons that you have listed; cooking, cleaning, and other household chores are must-haves. I’m amazed at how many of my daughters friends come over and don’t even know how to put their dish in the dishwasher, or pick up their pop can and put it in the garbage. I would like my kids to be self-sufficient, as much as possible, so I don’t have to worry about them as much. That to me is love. I can see that it is to you too, and your kids are very lucky to have you as their mom.

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 15, 2016 - 8:24 pm

Thank you, Nikki 🙂 I’m a great believer in practical skills, and am so grateful to my Mum for what she taught me as a child. I Like food too much, it’d be a disaster if I couldn’t cook lol. I also believe that both sons and daughters need the full range of skills – long gone are the days of the woman doing it all!

georgina prince (was Davies) March 14, 2016 - 10:01 pm

I think a huge one is just taking responsibility for everything they do as well as hygiene, their actions, health, work everything really! x

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 15, 2016 - 8:26 pm

Absolutely, and I think its one of the more difficult ones to teach 🙂

Mudpie Fridays March 13, 2016 - 11:06 pm

This is a great list and you have some on here I wouldn’t have thought about like read a map for example – probably because I was never taught it as a child myself. Today Monkey has passed his first swimming class and is moving onto the next band its something Hubby and I are passionate about him learning xx

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 15, 2016 - 8:27 pm

Well done, Monkey 🙂 Swimming is definitely such an important skill to learn x

Elizabeth March 13, 2016 - 6:57 pm

I think you just summed up our roles as a parent perfectly! What a fantastic collection of things we should teach our kids!

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 15, 2016 - 8:28 pm

Thank you, Elizabeth. I’m so pleased you like our list 🙂

Yvonne March 13, 2016 - 7:56 am

Advice can be overwhelming at times when you are a parent. I think you have summed up the things you need to teach them perfectly. #FabFridayPost x

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 15, 2016 - 8:29 pm

There is so much advice out there, and I agree it can get really overwhelming – especially when it seems to change all the time!

Educating Roversi March 12, 2016 - 5:34 pm

Great list. It all boils down to respect, resilience, responsibility and safety in my eyes. #FabFridayPost

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 15, 2016 - 8:30 pm

Thanks Becky, you are absolutely right 🙂

Leah Miller March 12, 2016 - 4:13 pm

Such a fantastic and important post. I agree with all of it, but especially teaching them to learn disappointment, we had a real struggle teaching my son this, when playing games, or being let down by friends etc, it is such an important thing for them to understand though. No one likes disappointment, but unfortunately it is a part of life!

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 15, 2016 - 8:31 pm

It so is, and I agree it’s a really hard lesson to learn, particularly in today’s society of always trying to praise them x

Mary-the boondocks blog March 11, 2016 - 8:16 pm

Lot’s of great ideas and very practical things as well. And some of which I did not sit down to teach my kids. Maybe it’s not too late.

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 15, 2016 - 8:34 pm

Thanks Mary, got visions of you giving your grown-up kids lessons on learning to take turns now lol

Cheryl March 11, 2016 - 7:37 pm

A great list! Some really thought provoking ones in here (I like the one about treating your body like a home and learning to respond to what it needs!) Thanks for sharing. #BrillBlogPost

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 15, 2016 - 8:37 pm

Thanks Cheryl. Taking responsibility for your health is something that doesn’t always occur to people – we’re all to used to relying on doctors nowadays!

Celeste March 11, 2016 - 5:43 am

I love this list, such great information.

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 11, 2016 - 6:41 pm

Thank you Celeste, and thanks for popping by 🙂

Celesre March 11, 2016 - 12:17 am

This is an awesome post, I love all of these.

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 11, 2016 - 6:43 pm

It will be interesting to see what other people would add to it – I’m hoping that I’ll get a few suggestions 🙂

Megan - truly madly kids March 10, 2016 - 10:12 pm

Great post – number 6 is so very true!

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 11, 2016 - 6:45 pm

Boredom is so important isn’t it? Think its hard for kids to switch off and chill out nowadays, but its so important in my view 🙂

Life as Mum March 10, 2016 - 1:43 pm

This is a fab list and I agree with all x

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 11, 2016 - 6:46 pm

Thank you, and thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

Fiona March 10, 2016 - 10:12 am

Totally agree with all of these. Some of the more practical points in your list are covered by Scouts. My son has benefited no end by going to Beavers, then Cubs and soon on to Scouts. As well as the practical skills that he learns, it instills confidence in his own abilities which is a brilliant thing. #brillblogposts

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 11, 2016 - 6:50 pm

Scouts and similar organisations are fab – we love forest school too. You are right they really help build confidence 🙂

Emma March 9, 2016 - 9:09 pm

I agree with all those, and I love the fact that she’s learning all of them either with me or with cubs and scouts.

Sarah - Craft Invaders March 9, 2016 - 9:17 pm

I must have been commenting on your post literally as you were on mine, Emma. While I was commenting, I was thinking how you’d probably hate this post with the coloured text and small print – thank you for taking the time to read it, and I’ll be giving more thought to my layout from now on x