Life Skills – What are the Basic Life Skills?

Life Skills

Times have changed, lives have changed, we are moving fast. In these changing times and era of globalization, we want to win the race and be ahead of others.

For our children, we want nothing but the best and want them to excel in life. We talk about the “Holistic Development” of our children. Schools today are also focusing on the same thing. A term has emerged – Life Skills.

What are Life Skills?

Abilities that help promote mental well being and competence in people as they face the realities of life are better known as life skills. It is believed that Life Skills are significant in making one capable of exploring alternatives, making rational decisions, communicating effectively, and weighing the pros and cons in a real life situation.

Life is full of challenges and we have to be prepared mentally, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually to face every challenge and emerge as a winner.

Earlier it was believed that these skills were to be taught by the family, but with changing times, life skills are becoming an important part of a child’s education. With all these efforts and hard work in making our younger generation capable of handling pressure and excelling in this competitive environment, the question is: Are we really giving them the correct skills and in an appropriate way?

Some of the basic life skills are

  • decision making,
  • problem solving,
  • budgeting,
  • saving,
  • creativity,
  • time management,
  • safety,
  • communication and expression,
  • positive thinking,
  • motivation,
  • sharing or working in a team.

All these skills cannot be taught through books and classroom lectures. Life skills can only be learned through experiencing them in real life situations. We can also set examples for our children, show them how to act or react in a particular situation and can discuss with them such skills. We should also let our children experiment with their abilities of developing such skills and handling situations in their own little way, but (of course) under our supervision.

Case Study

Anil is now 19 and he is in the second year of engineering college. He is the only child of his parents. His parents always protected him, never let him handle problems on his own. He was not independent in making even small decisions like which sport he should play, or which colors he should wear. His parents always advised him in whatever little thing he did.

In short, his parents protected him so much that he was not able to grow up as an independent individual. Now, when he entered college and started living on his own he had to deal with all sorts of people, and handle everything on his own.

Now, he is confused, not able to handle his life independently. As a result, he is not able to concentrate on his studies and has become irritable.

If his parents would have made him independent, open to facing different situations and making choices in life, he would have handled this situation better.


Life is busy but we have to take out time, bring changes to our own behaviors and stop putting all the responsibility on schools. Schools, teachers and education definitely play a very important role in a child’s growth and development, but learning starts at home, way before he enters school and starts getting formal education.

This will only become possible if we as parents, guardians, and elders understand the importance of these things and inculcate a life skills education and experience in their daily lives. Only then, we will be on the right track and our children will become more confident and independent.

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About the Author

Varsha Tyagi is a Master's in Psychology with 5 years of Experience as a Life Skills Coach and a Counseling Psychologist. She has worked with many schools, colleges and corporates as a Counselor and a Life Skills Trainer and dealt with both children and adults. She is currently working as a Life Skills Facilitator with an organization.

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