My co-worker Andrea wrote a great blog recently called Top 3 “Big Kid Skills” to learn before kindergarten. This got me thinking – what about my teenagers, and what skills will they need to be competent and successful in the next stage of their life?
Halton schools do a great job preparing kids academically, but it is our job as parents to ensure our children can take care of themselves in the world. It’s the simple things that will help them – life skills that will increase their confidence and pride at the same time as allowing them to become increasingly independent (I’ve seen this first-hand).
So I set out to discover the top 10 must-learn life skills for teens as they prepare to move on from your home. This is what I found:
|Life skill #1||Learn to cook
Have them make a grocery list, buy food, prepare a meal and store the leftovers.
|Life skill #2||Clean up
Be sure they can sanitize a bathroom, do the dishes, load and start a dishwasher.
|Life skill #3||Household skills
Teach them to do laundry, to separate colours (explain why), treat stains and manage delicate clothes. Show them how to iron shirts and sew on a button. Teach them to use the lawn mower.
|Life skill #4||Deal with an emergency
They should know how to take their own temperature and what to do when they are sick. Know medications they take. Teach them basic first aid skills such as how to clean a cut. Learn how to unclog a toilet.
|Life skill #5||Learn to budget wisely
Have them start a budget and live within in. They should have their own bank account and know how to use it.
|Life skill #6||Have good social skills
Have them shake hands and look people in the eye when meeting someone. Get them to set their own dentist or hair appointments.
|Life skill #7||Learn to apologize
Teach them the ability to say sorry and admit when they are wrong.
|Life skill #8|| Be a good employee
Teach them to be on time, along with basic responsibilities such as how to dress and behave in an interview.
|Life skill #9|| Learn to take public transit
Have kids learn how to take a bus and Go-Train. They won’t always be living at home.
|Life skill #10|| Learn basic car skills
If they learn to drive, they should also learn to change a tire and basic car maintenance schedules such as oil changes.
Okay, so now how to start? Know that your teen will most likely encounter some challenges when dealing with new situations. If you have a supportive relationship, your teen will be more likely to seek your guidance and listen to your suggestions.
Keep in mind that teens do not like being told what to do. So you’ll need to be creative. Let them know these skills will help them when they are on their own. Highlight what’s in it for them.
Ask them what they’d like to learn and build from there. Be specific, break the job down into small steps and guide your teen along. (And try not to take over…) What you and your child consider “clean” may differ, but as long there is a reasonable attempt, let it go.
Are there any skills you want to add or wish you had learned earlier?
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.