If you are the mama of a teenager, first of all, I applaud you. You are raising an almost-adult who is likely full of independence, opinions and an emerging sense of self. Hats off to you!
Secondly, I guess that…as much as you love your not-so-littles, you really don’t want them to live with (and depend on) you forever, either.
If you’ve got a teen, almost teen, ten-year-old or twenty-something, this list is for you.
6 Significant Life Skills to Teach Your Teen Now.
1. Financial Skills
Teens need to know how much things cost and other basic finance knowledge. Teach your older children how to follow and create a budget. Other financial skills that will add effectiveness to young adult life are: how to balance a bank account, what happens when you have insufficient funds, having a method to track when bills are due, and an awareness of how credit cards work.
Tip: Give your teen practical ways to grow their money skills. One suggestion is to give them a budget and planning abilities for their next birthday party so they can have a realistic idea of what things cost. Some adaptations from their original plan may be necessary as they are given a reasonable spending limit to stick to, and their appreciation for how far (or not) a dollar goes can be an impactful lesson.
2. Cooking Skills
Cooking skills are a must. You’re going to want to know that your son or daughter knows more than how to order from Postmates or Papa John’s. (Although there is no shame in teaching them to order take-out, too!) Educate your teen on the basics of meal prep, how to follow a recipe, what basic cooking terms mean (such as browning meat or how to sauté) and how to operate essential kitchen equipment.
Tip: Allow your teen the opportunity to cook dinner for your family a couple of times per month. Have them pick out the meal beforehand, guide them in making sure it is nutritionally balanced, and then have them make you a list of necessary ingredients from the store before your next shopping trip.
3. Car Skills
Before they fly out of the nest, ensure that your young adults know not just how to drive, but have picked up some defensive driving skills, too. Additionally, it will be valuable for them to know where the DMV and tag agency offices are located, and what they might need from each. Navigational skills are essential to learning how to get around town or to plan a road trip. Other opportunities to learn basic car maintenance and how to pump gas will be extremely valuable for your pre-adult.
Tip: Have your teens begin recognizing routes while they are in the passenger role in your car. Give them the opportunity to give you directions from point A to point B on some trips around town and see how they do.
4. Household Skills
Your young adult will likely be living with others (like a roommate or a spouse) after they leave your house. This introduces the immense need to know what will contribute to a household. Household skills may include doing laundry and dishes, cleaning the bathroom and floors, or something along the lines of what day the trash pick up occurs or how to mow the yard.
Tip: Assign your teen an area of the house that he or she is responsible for, along with other family members. Switch the areas every couple of months so that each family member, including your teen, will have an idea of overall household responsibilities.
5. Social Skills
We want our children to be able to keep and maintain friends and be pleasant to others. Most times, that puts the responsibility on us to teach and model appropriate etiquette ourselves. Important social skills to teach include making eye contact, asking questions of others, active listening, introducing yourself, and appropriate phone etiquette.
Tip: Include your teen in “thank you” phone calls or notes to gift-givers. Point out appropriate and positive interactions that they have with others in everyday life.
6. Work Ethic & Employability Skills
Having a solid work ethic is one of the best qualities you can teach your teen. The ability to not only do a job but do it well, will be a lifelong asset. These skills will start in the home, as you instruct in (or check) chores and homework. As your child grows older, tips about what to put in a resume’, who to use as references, and how best to communicate with a boss will also be important tools for them to learn for long-term success.
Tip: Encouraging your teen to have a part-time or summer job will help them learn these habits from other people besides you and your spouse. Engage them in conversation about what their boss expects and encourage them to take initiative in finding additional tasks they can do, if time allows.
Life as a mom of teens can be bittersweet, as you enjoy the people they are becoming and love the conversations you can have, you are also, undoubtedly, counting down the days you have left with them. So make the most of it, mama.
What other skills should a teen be taught at home?