Living skills

Living skills like cooking, doing household chores, budgeting and having social skills (like manners) begin early in a child’s life and build slowly. Young people in care may need extra support to develop these skills – giving them confidence and building independence.

Teaching teenagers about everyday tasks can happen gradually but don’t underestimate the importance of preparing them for the challenges of life. Encourage good habits, social skills and practical skills like making a doctors appointment and applying for a tax file number. Everything from phone skills and making appointments to how to re-heat food safely, the value of things, mobile phone safety … there is much to learn.

Don’t assume teenagers already know and remember that some information will need repeating.

Young people should be encouraged to learn to drive, join a sports club or taking up a hobby, or volunteering. Consider their interests and what they like to do. Use the Living Skills checklist to guide conversations and consider when and how teenagers will learn certain skills or improve their skills.

It is also important to give praise when they do well. For example: 'fantastic cooking', 'great news on your part time work', 'well done for making that phone call, you spoke so well'.

Caseworkers and carers can work together to think about how best to prepare young people for everyday life.

The following links provide information about living skills. Click to find out more:

Building independent living skills


Last updated:

24 Feb 2023

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Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

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