Life Skills for Teens
Your high school kids are at a crossroads of growing up, and teaching these basic life skills is another way to help them move toward their dreams. As a bonus, teaching essential life skills for teens often gets them off their screens and helping around the house as they learn. Equipping your teen with important skills that they will need in the real world is a great way to connect with these young people. These are not skills that are taught at school and it is up to you, as a parent or caregiver, to help your kids grow into independent young adults.
Cooking the Basics
Whether your teen has helped you cook since they were five years old or only has basic cooking skills, having a few basic recipes for each meal they can cook is critical when they move out of the house. From boiling eggs for breakfast to simple pan-seared chicken for dinner, cooking is one of the best life skills for teens to practice. The important thing is to let them choose what to cook and to encourage them towards healthy eating. Of course, the first time that they try a recipe, it might not always work out, but that’s a learning experience for them. No-one gets everything right first time! Being able to cook a few basic meals for themselves using healthy ingredients will help them with food costs as well.
Basic first aid is one of the essential life skills for teenagers, especially those planning to move out on their own. Knowing what to do for a cut or a burn from cooking can make an enormous difference to your teens. If you do not feel comfortable teaching your teen this life skill, check out classes online or from your local Red Cross.
Teaching them how to deal with other emergencies is also one of the best ways to equip them for independent life. Show them how to use a fire extinguisher. Demonstrate the use of basic tools for simple things like DIY jobs or flat pack furniture assembly.
Creating and sticking to a budget is one of the many money management skills which are useful any age. Teaching your teen this crucial life skill can be challenging without opening up about your household budget as well, but it can be done. There are also a number of online resources you can work through with your teen to foster this life skill.
Help them to set up their bank account and keep track of money coming in and out. Explain what happens if they spend more money than they actually have and how to make good decisions about their finances.
If they have the resources, direct them towards setting up a savings account so that they can start to get their own pot of savings as the first step towards financial security.
Storing Important Documents
Your child needs to know what documents are important and how to store them securely. To teach this essential life skill for teenagers, start by having your teen sort their records. Then, correct them on which are important. Once you have that sorted, show them how to store them in secure locations like locking safes.
Explain that the best way to find these important documents is to keep them all together in a safe place. After all, they will need some of them when they come to making their first job application.
While your teenager may adore fast food at the moment, meal planning is an essential life skill for teens. Meal planning and budgeting are intricately linked, so ensuring your teenager can do both can help them long-term. After teaching your teen about meal planning, you can assign them a day of the week to meal plan and cook for the family for practice.
Take your teen grocery shopping and show them how to check fruit and vegetables for ripeness. Let them develop a nose for a bargain and get to roughly know the prices of basic foodstuffs.
While making friends may seem intuitive to your teen now, moving to a new environment like college or a workplace can be challenging. Teaching them the basics of where to find people their age, how to initiate conversations, and how to maintain relationships can make these transitions much smoother.
Dressing to Impress
Choosing clothes that match the situation is an essential life skill for teenagers, no matter their gender. Your teen needs to know what to wear for a job, class, formal events, and more in order to make a good impression. However, every young pers has their own sense of style so you should provide guidelines rather than choosing the exact pieces from their closet.
Time management is a critical skill, especially when your teen will be adjusting to a new schedule. Not only can you teach your teen how to anticipate how long something will take, but you can also help them find the right time management style for themselves to make sure everything gets done.
Basic manners means that slight lateness is tolerated with friends but some things require you to show up on time like a doctor’s appointment or a job interview!
While you are beyond supervising when your teen showers, you should still confirm they understand the level of hygiene expected of them. This essential life skill for teens includes the basics like scent management up to grooming for formal events.
Managing a household, even a household of one person is a learned skill. By teaching this as part of essential life skills for teenagers, you ensure your teen can maintain a safe and sanitary environment wherever they live. Starting with something like doing their own laundry and working up to keeping everything clean is a good option.
Social Skills and Manners
While you may not need to teach your teen how to attend a twelve-course dinner, fundamental social skills and manners can help them find their path in life. Small talk, table manners, things to do on dates, how to get along with coworkers, and things along those lines all fall in this life skill for teens.
It’s a good idea to discuss their social media presence as there is a good chance potential employers will check out a person online before they employ them.
Knowing when to see a healthcare professional, managing chronic health conditions without help, and generally taking care of themselves are essential life skills for teenagers. Allowing teenagers to take the lead with their doctors, dentists, and other professionals with your support is a great place to start.
While smartphones can handle a lot, navigation is still amongst the most important life skills for teens. Whether you’ve taught your teen to drive or your family uses public transportation, teaching them to navigate without a cell phone is an enormous confidence booster and helpful if they decide to travel.
Emotional regulation and processing are critical throughout life, from the lows to the highs. Helping your teen understand their feelings and how to handle them appropriately is part of parenting. If you do not feel equipped to handle this the way your teen needs, there are professional resources online or in your community.
Goal Setting and Decision Making
Goals and decisions go hand in hand, especially for teens. Guiding your teenager as they gain this essential life skill can help them gain the confidence for everything from their career moves to their regular dinner. Generally, you’ll want to start teaching this life skill slowly and in small increments.
General Organizational Skills
Keeping track of things is an art form, and everyone does it a little differently. However, the basics of keeping things from bills to a home organized fall into essential life skills for teens. If your child has a messy room, that is a good place to start. If not, look at your teen’s activities and which could use a little more organization.
Customer Service Basics
No matter what your teen does in life, chances are they will have to interact with customers at some point. Understanding how to behave on a phone call, how to interact with customers, and how to provide basic customer service will make them more attractive to potential employers as well.
Coping with Failure
No matter how well your teen has done so far, at some point, they will fail at something. Teaching teens to cope with that failure, learn from it, and rectify any consequences is one of the most critical life skills. You can start teaching this with social stories and move into helping your teen understand this with situations in their life.
There are many essential life skills for teenagers, and taking the time to teach as your teen grows up can help them become well-balanced and well-adjusted adults. With each skill you teach, the better prepared your child will be for the next step in towards their adult life.