We all want our children to grow up to be independent and capable adults, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to help them get there. It helps to start with the basics: with a solid foundation of necessary skills, your teens will be better equipped to succeed in life. Here are eight lessons you can teach your teen to ensure they can stand on their own two feet when they’re ready.
Creating a Budget
Money management is an important thing for a teen to learn before they reach adulthood. Teach your teen how to create a budget for necessary expenses like food, rent and other bills, and how to track their spending—a notebook or spreadsheet can work, but budgeting apps like Mint creates financial goals and monitors spending automatically. It’s crucial that your teen understand the consequences of overspending and debt so that they’ll always have money in the bank.
Learning to Drive
Even if your teen lives in a city where public transportation is readily available, knowing how to drive can come in handy at times when transit is unavailable. Even more, your teen will develop a sense of independence and responsibility when they learn to drive.
Maintaining Your Car
Once your teen is driving, they should know how to care for their vehicle through regular maintenance. Your teen should understand how often a car needs to be serviced, what to do when the battery dies and how to change a tire in an emergency. If you’re mechanically inclined, you may also want to teach your teen how to perform an oil change or replace the brake pads.
Listening to Others
Whether on the phone or in-person, listening skills are crucial for everyone, but especially for teens pursuing college or a career out of high school. Understanding that it’s not simply about letting the other person talk—you also have to pay attention, be patient and consider how to respond—can help your teen perform better in interviews, handle workplace conflicts and improve personal relationships.
Cooking Basic Meals
Your teen may think they can survive on takeout and frozen dinners after moving out, but not only is that unhealthy, it’s expensive as well! Get your teen involved with meal preparation at home (and grocery shopping to know how to select the right ingredients) and help them learn how to cook some simple, inexpensive dishes.
Taking Care of Personal Health
Before moving out on their own, your teen should know how to self-diagnose simple illnesses such as the flu or a cold, know which over-the-counter medicines to take for which symptoms and understand that they should always see a doctor if they are concerned about their health.
Performing Domestic Chores
Good housekeeping skills will go a long way in keeping roommates and friends happy! Understanding how to do laundry, handle small household emergencies like a clogged toilet and performing a thorough clean-up before moving out is essential knowledge for any teen (and adult).
Keeping Track of Time
It can be hard for teens to learn how to manage their time, but it’s easier to learn while they are in high-school because it only gets more complicated when they start college or a full-time job. Show your teen how to create a to-do list, schedule appointments and prioritize essential tasks over fun extracurriculars that can happen after the necessary tasks are done.
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