Skills Every Dad Should Know And Teach Their Kids

January 30, 2023 5 min read

Being a dad is one of the coolest experiences in the world, because not only do you get to raise a tiny human, you have a built-in audience for all the stuff you like. It's not surprising that kids like the music their dad listens to while he works, or they have similar tastes in movies - your kids tend to idolize you.

While it's definitely nice to introduce them to the Beastie Boys or Pulp Fiction, demonstrating and passing down knowledge is your most powerful ability. A lot of men grow up without certain basic life skills that, frankly, are essential. There are a variety of reasons for this: rough childhood, parents who did everything for you, or maybe nobody ever took the time to teach you. Even if you don't know these skills now, you're never too old to learn and learning them with your kids can be incredibly rewarding.

Here are our 5 most important skills for every dad to know and to teach their kids.


At some point it was determined that women were the cooks in households and, for whatever reason, that stereotype has stuck in many families. It's not only sexist, but it's also not great for men who might not be married or for whatever reason find themselves without a spouse.

Cooking is something that everyone should learn in childhood, but many men don't. And that's unfortunate because you need to be able to cook to survive. Sure, you can live on takeout, but it's going to take its toll on your waist, your arteries, and your wallet. Cooking is a really fun, creative way to sustain your daily activities.

Teaching your kids from an early age that cooking is important and getting them to learn this skill is a big step towards self-reliance. Not only is it an important skill for life in general, it's an extremely appealing feature in a potential significant other, so raising sons that can cook for themselves is a win win. Grilling is a great skill but being able to make a pan sauce or cook the perfect roast duck is something that will wow any friend or family member.

Changing a Tire

Although traditionally mechanical work has fallen to men, that’s also a holdover from yesteryear. The truth is, basic mechanical work like changing oil or a tire is something that everyone should be able to do and again increases resilience, self-reliance, and confidence. As a father, just thinking about your child stranded on a roadway by themselves with a tire they can't change should be enough to make you want to teach them this easy and important life skill.

It is mind-numbingly easy to change a tire and if you have a good jack you can do it with very little effort. Many of us grew up with those old spindly jacks but some newer models that are readily available make it a snap. Before your child goes out on a road by themselves - while they're taking behind the wheel for instance - practice changing tires over and over until it becomes second nature. They (and you) will be very happy that you did the first time they blow a tire on the road.

Painting a Room

Painting a house well is an incredibly lucrative and important skill, and one that most people will utilize multiple times in their lives. Every time you move you might not like the colors of the walls and being able to successfully paint them well is a highly satisfactory feeling. Plus, it costs quite a bit of money to pay somebody to professionally paint your house, and it's relatively easy to learn.

Invite your kids to help you paint the next time you paint a room in your home. Tell them the basics of taping and cutting in, and by the time they're able to do it by themselves, these lessons will pay for themselves in spades.

Planting a Garden

These are uncertain times and few things harken back to the days of uncertainty like a garden in your backyard. While many people grow gardens as a hobby, with food scarcity and weird inflationary changes in the market, growing your own food can give a certain peace of mind. It is surprisingly easy to grow food and it doesn't take much space to grow a ton.

For instance, you can grow bountiful tomatoes by just cutting a hole in a bag of fertilizer and putting a whole tomato into it. This will grow a plant that you can trim back and, over the course of a summer, can provide you with dozens of fresh tomatoes. Container gardening is incredibly easy to do with very little space and it's something that even young children can partake in.

If you have a bigger plot, learning and teaching the ins and outs of tilling, crop rotation, plowing under, and growing a diverse variety of foods can be a hobby you engage in with your children. You will find that even children who are stubbornly against eating vegetables are far more interested when they grow them themselves.


Nobody should raise lazy children and chores are an important part of growing up to be a well-rounded human. One issue, however, that many men face is that we simply toss clothes in the washer and let it do its thing. There is a method to doing laundry well to prevent cross coloring and shrinkage in the dryer and it is a skill to be taught.

Laundry is a relatively easy task to teach children because it's something that needs to be done pretty often depending on your household size. This repetition makes it easy for them to learn and, because it's a lot of hands-on action, they will learn faster. Many psychological studies have indicated that when a task involves movement - particularly hand involvement - children learn and retain the information better. Famed child psychologist Maria Montessori said "what the hand does the mind remembers", and there is a lot of physicality in doing laundry.

Self-reliance is a blessing

While it is true that household chores should be divided evenly and a truly egalitarian household will have one person doing what comes best to them, it is important to have these skills even if you don't necessarily use them every day. When your child is in college or living on their own, they will be extremely happy that you taught them how to cook and do their own laundry in a way that doesn't ruin their clothes or their health.

If they are stranded on a highway and they get a flat tire it is safer and better for them to be able to hop out and change it themselves in just a few minutes then wait for somebody to come by. And few things give peace and bolster your pantry the way a garden does.

Finally, nothing says you are on your own and living your best life than being able to paint a room really well without help.

It's really important that you have these skills and teach them to your children. These are not only important, but these are also some of the most basic life skills that a lot of people lack. The reason they lack them often boils down to nobody thought it was important to teach them. However, you can break that cycle by showing your children that self-reliance is golden and these skills are critical. They might fuss and get upset at having to spend time listening to you. Teach them these things now, and in 10 or 20 years from now they will be so incredibly happy that you did.

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