Today is the day! You’re baby isn’t a baby anymore. High school is done & it’s time to embrace the world. They step out of the house & say “see you soon”. Then what?
Are they off to college? The military? To work?
Will they succeed? Will they fail?
We don’t know the answers to any of those questions. But you should know the answer to, are they prepared?
Life skills are essential to everyone. Think of them as the building blocks to functioning in day to day life. We start teaching our children life skills from day 1 in the form of manners, potty training, education, & communication. Though sometimes we forget to teach the skills needed to succeed on their own.
Let’s take a look…
Teaching your teen that money doesn’t grow out of the ground & how to manage it is a big must. There are key elements to managing money that every young adult should have an understanding of:
- how to open a bank account
- how to save
- emergency funds
- writing a check
- paying utilities & bills
- using an ATM
- creating a budget & sticking to it
- tracking expenses
- applying for credit cards & not going overboard
It sounds like a cliche statement but life happens. When it does your teenager must be able to cope with the emotions that go with it. They need to learn how to handle:
- impulsive decisions
- peer pressure
- the list is ongoing
Help them learn coping methods that will work best for them. Try hobbies, meditating, a physical activity like a sport or working out, spirituality, taking to someone, listening to music, or writing.
A basic understanding of how to take care of themselves is something everyone should know. Especially teens. Now is the time to start teaching them how to book their own doctor appointments & when to book them, to understand copay’s, & finding providers that are in network. As well as information on over the counter medications & what to do in case of illness.
Every young adult should know their way around the kitchen. They don’t have to be the next top chef but they should have basic skills such as:
- how to use appliances (even a grill)
- how to make easy dishes like casseroles or pasta
- how to use the crockpot
- how to properly store food
- knowledge of various utensils
- how to read food labels
They should also learn how to grocery shop using a budget & a meal planner. As well as have a basic understanding of which ingredients are which. We don’t need them buying cilantro instead of spinach.
Yes, they need to know the basics of cleaning like how to properly clean the bathroom & kitchen. But they will also need to learn skills such as:
- how to plunge toilets
- cleaning a garbage disposal
- how to unclog a drain
- resetting the breaker
- how to change light bulbs & air filters
We all know that car repairs can be very expensive. Which is one of the reasons why every young adult should understand car maintenance. They need to learn:
- how to check tire pressure
- add air to tires
- check & replenish fluids-coolant, oil, & windshield wiper
- how to change a tire
- how to call AAA
You should also begin to teach them about car insurance as well as vehicle registration & taxes.
Problems & conflicts will arise. Your teen will need to have to the skills to be prepared to solve them on their own. As an adult they won’t be able to run home & have you to solve all of their problems for them.
Social skills start at the beginning. We arrange play dates & teach our kiddos about making friends & being nice. But it’s more than that.
- how to conduct yourself in a professional setting
- how to say no
- creating/nurturing/maintaining friendships & relationships
- proper etiquette for being a host & a guest
Respecting the view points of others & learning about diversity and inclusion are also key social skills that are kiddos need to learn. Audrey from Mommy Enlightened, has 5 awesome ways to help you teach your kiddos about this.
Our kids pretended to be doctors when they were smaller. But now that they’re older, basic first aid is great to know in everyday situations. Learning how to clean & bandage wounds, how to properly handle choking, & understanding what to do in medical emergencies are just some of the skills that they need to know.
Courses in first aid are offered through Ashi or Red Cross or check your local departments to see what they offer. You can also refresh your skills by taking the course with your child. It would serve as an bonus bonding experience.
How to get dressed
Ok, this may seem crazy to you since your teenager has probably been dressing themselves for years. But, do they know how to dress professionally? If they went on an interview today, what would they pick out? Dressing for the right occasion is a life skill that’s often looked over.
In addition to getting dressed teens should also learn simple sewing skills so that they can fix a small hole or sew a button back on.
They also need to learn to iron, sort & wash clothes, & how to fold them.
We all know how that we have to brush our teeth everyday & take showers. But what about everything else?
For boys, do they know how to shave? For girls, do they know how to stay clean during periods? Do they understand how to shop for their own products?
Careers. I used to be horrified by that word. Just the thought of having to go in for an interview or work for a company was mind boggling. Lucky for me, my parents made sure that I had the skills needed to be prepared for the work force.
Start teaching your teen:
- The importance of professional voicemail greetings
- When & how to return calls
- The importance of being on time & what do to if you’ll be late
- Negotiating skills
- How to evaluate their own skills
- How to effectively communicate
We communicate just about every moment of everyday, both verbally & non verbally. Now is the time to build on those communication skills.
- Creating emails
- How to write letters
- Listening skills
- Properly talking on the phone
- The importance of manners
We don’t live in the same world as Daniel Tiger or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse where there’s always singing & laughter. It’s sad to say but the world can be a scary place. Our youth need to be aware of how to stay safe & how to handle a situation if something comes up.
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