Life Skills 101: The 9 Skills Teenagers Should Know Before Leaving Home

There are many things a teenager needs to check off their to-do list before graduating from high school and heading off into their next adventure. There are certain classes to take, scholarships to apply for, and much more. It is hard to imagine adding more lessons to be learned to their list; however, not all lessons and skills are taught at school. Many start at home. 

These lessons could easily be called life skills, and include different tasks that adults do automatically. However, teenagers need to be taught, or at least should be aware of, what is included in various tasks, such as making a doctor’s appointment or checking your car’s oil. These skills are valuable and very important for helping teenagers become responsible and independent adults. So, while you are helping your teenager prepare for their next step after high school, consider teaching them the following life skills. 

  1. Basic cooking skills – Eating at restaurants and fast- food places can add up in cost and sometimes aren’t the healthiest. While there are dining options on every college campus, it is necessary to teach your child a few quick and simple recipes they can make anytime. Also, don’t forget the basics in cooking, such as boiling water, boiling an egg, etc. Keep in mind meals and food items that are budget- and health- friendly. Lastly, reading and understanding a recipe can make all the difference for some people. 
  2. Managing a budget – Living within a budget is a key skill to know, no matter how old you are, but it is helpful to gain practice and experience at a young age. Help your teenager understand how to live within their budget, balance a checkbook, about the pros and cons of credit, and what to do if they overspend. In addition, teaching children how to save and start early with saving is important. 
  3. Healthcare knowledge – There are a few things a person should know when it comes to their personal healthcare. First, who are their doctors and how do you contact them to schedule an appointment and fill out any necessary forms. Second, how to self-diagnose simple illnesses, which over-the-counter medications to take for what symptoms, and what to do in an emergency. 
  4. Simple auto maintenance – When it comes to their cars, teenagers will likely not be able to fix faulty brakes or the ignition, but there are a few common skills they need to know when it comes to auto maintenance. This list includes checking their oil, changing a flat tire, and jump-starting a car. Also, it is very important for them to understand when a problem needs attention by a professional. 
  5. Essential home maintenance – Youtube videos can teach a person many things with respect to home maintenance. For example, how to fix a leaky faucet. However, it is always a good idea to demonstrate to your child these procedures in person. For essential home maintenance, doing laundry, cleaning on a routine basis, and fixing simple problems, such as clogged drains, are good places to start. Think about how you can teach a child to fix something, rather than spend money and replace it. 
  6. Managing their time – We all have done it—poorly managed our time. We have wasted too much on one activity, leaving us stressed and without enough time for more important tasks. Time management can make a huge difference in a person’s daily schedule. Whether you go into great detail about how to handle their time or show them how to make a few tweaks here and there, your teenager will thank you later. 
  7. Filling out forms – In the healthcare knowledge section, we have already mentioned filling out forms, but “forms” can apply to many different areas, such as school and car information. Comprehending basic paperwork and having some common information readily available will come in handy. You can also throw in a lesson on organizing and keeping valuable paperwork. 
  8. Good social skills and manners – Basic manners, such as saying “Please” and “Thank you,” help a person make a good first impression, but good social skills and manners go beyond that. It is knowing how to carry on a conversation, ask questions, and introduce themselves to new people, whether they be employers, instructors, etc.  Also important is how to make a phone call, and how to follow up on a conversation.  
  9. How to read a map – GPS technology may not always be available in certain locations. Understanding a map is a life skill that every person should know. In fact, it is actually a survival skill, as well. 

These life skills are only nine that teenagers need to know. The good news is that other skills can still be taught after the teenager leaves home. Be sure to make the lessons personable and memorable. After all, the time spent teaching the lessons can also be a good time to make lasting lifetime memories with your loved ones.


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