10 Life Lessons for Kids They Won’t Learn In School

Even in the best schools, there’s no short-cut to learning how to be kind, show gratitude, support friends or even grieve. It can be tough to teach children these soft skills in an often-times daunting world. 

But these social skills and behavioral lessons will help children remain positive, kind, thoughtful and thankful in a nuanced and confusing social landscape. These skills, just as much as book smarts, will help children become successful. 

Jump to our infographic below or read on to learn ten lessons you should teach your child that they won’t learn in school.


Expressing gratitude is more than saying “please” and “thank you.” Children who are taught true gratitude also have an appreciation for the people and the world around them, which makes them more considerate and less selfish. 

Teach this by: Asking your child to name one to two things they’re thankful for each day; setting a good example by showing them gratefulness in your own interactions.


As adults, we know everything isn’t fast or simple. Children who learn patience are less likely to make impulsive decisions or get frustrated when they have to wait.

Teach this by: Choosing projects  and activities that require patience, such as baking cookies or playing board games. Set a timer to encourage delayed gratification.


It’s important to teach children empathy early on, as young children tend to think of themselves first. Empathetic children grow up to have more friends and become better leaders

Teach this by: Having long talks about experiences and feelings; encouraging children to consider how others feel in public; taking care of an animal or plant. 


Forgiveness is all about balance. Children need to learn to forgive so they don’t isolate themselves from social situations, but also need to learn to set boundaries.

Teach this by: Acknowledging hurt feelings and discussing them; deciding to let negative feelings go. Take the time to discuss each step of this process with your child, teaching them to feel their anger but ultimately forgive. 


Cookies, cakes and fast food can be acceptable in moderation. But childhood is an especially important time to teach children about eating well, drinking water and staying active, since these habits carry over into adulthood. 

Teach this by: Encouraging outside activities on warm, sunny days; cooking well-balanced meals for dinner. 

Financial Responsibility

It’s never too early to teach children the importance of financial responsibility, which can set them up for success later in life.

Teach this by: Encouraging your child to save their allowance in a clear jar; having them physically complete transactions for toys or snacks with their “savings.” 


Childhood is an important time to learn the value of telling the truth — even when it’s hard or uncomfortable. Honest children have healthier relationships with friends, family members and themselves.

Teach this by: Rewarding the truth in addition to scolding dishonesty; setting a good example by not holding back the truth yourself. 


It’s impossible to protect children from every hurdle  — despite our best efforts. At some point in life, they will experience rejection and disappointment. Teaching perseverance can help them continue in the face of adversity and become more successful adults.

Teach this by: Setting small goals and applauding reaching them; complimenting effort when they fail.


Giving to others, whether it be giving material objects, emotional support or quality time, is an easy way to feel more fulfilled. Teach generosity to help children grow up to be thoughtful and kind.  

Teach this by: Encouraging children to share toys and time, and rewarding this behavior; volunteering in your community. 


Childhood is a crucial time to teach children to accept themselves and others, which will help them become kinder and more well-rounded in adulthood. 

Teach this by: Being a model in your own interactions; teaching children about cultural differences early on and encouraging acceptance. 

Teaching kids about abstract concepts doesn’t have to be hard. These lessons are important in setting children up for success. Luckily,  there are children’s books that teach these skills while providing a fun activity for the child! Our infographic outlines the best books for teaching these lessons and more. 

If you’re looking for more ways to plan for parenthood and responsibility, get a life insurance quote within minutes from Bestow.

Sources: No Time For Flashcards | Scholastic | Dave Ramsey | Huffington Post | Harvard Graduate School | All Pro Dad | iMom | Parents.com

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