My oldest son just turned 14 (WHAT!?). Of course I’m biased, but that kid is such an incredible young man. Without needing any prompting from his father or myself, he started a lawn care business last summer and worked as an intern at our local zoo. This summer he has kept himself busy job shadowing as a computer programmer and coder. He has so much going for him! There’s been a couple of days this summer, though, when it’s become really apparent that I failed to teach him some important life skills. Case in point: He asked if I could help him make scrambled eggs. This came only a few days after he needed my help folding his laundry. This all got me thinking… what other skills do I need to make sure I’m teaching my boys now? I’ve pulled together a list of 10 life skills you should teach your kids before they move out.
Of course this is my first suggested life skill to teach your children! My 14-year-old didn’t know how to make scrambled eggs!? (To my great relief, however, both of his younger brothers DID know how to make scrambled eggs so we’ll just blame it on Oldest Child Syndrome). According to BBC Good Food, children should learn to use the stove (to make scrambled eggs) starting around age 8. For a full list of age-appropriate cooking and kitchen skills, check out this article. You’ll also find some recipes to try with children of all ages.
Whether they want to learn how to make and use items from scratch or if they’re simply needing to know how to repair a hole in a shirt, children should be taught basic sewing skills. Phoebe & Egg gives some great suggestions and advice for getting your children going.
3. Personal Finance
It can be hard to give children financial independence, but, really, what better time to learn these skills than during childhood when real financial responsibilities don’t affect them yet? Help them open a personal banking account and find ways in which they can start earning (and managing!!) money. TheMint.com has some helpful tools and lessons for children and teens. Also read this fantastic article from Forbes about the 5 most important money lessons to teach kids.
While I know I’ve made it a point to teach my boys how to load the washer and dryer and run the cycles, apparently I failed at teaching them the folding part of the job. Loading, washing, drying, ironing, folding… it’s all important to teach your children. The Spruce provides good tips for teaching children how to do laundry, including age-appropriate tasks, removing stains, getting out wrinkles, and, yes, FOLDING.
5. Change A Tire
Even if children don’t yet have a driver’s license, it’s never to early to learn to change a car tire. In fact, the younger they learn this skill and feel comfortable going through the steps, the better. Get those girls out there helping too!! Find a tutorial for how to change a flat tire on Bridgestonetire.com.
6. Car Ownership
Whether or not your teenage owns a car (or uses one that mom and dad own), they still need to learn the realities of car ownership. Maintenance, gas expenses, safety and emissions, license and registration, insurance, and basic care. Help them learn it now so it doesn’t come as a shock with actual ownership. Read more from BBVA Compass about including kids in car ownership economics.
7. Internet Safety & Computer Skills
As we move ever deeper into the Digital Age, you can not teach your children enough about Internet safety and other computer skills! Aside from just steering clear of inappropriate websites, children should learn how to respectfully interact and communicate with others, how to type, basic computer troubleshooting, and how to use essential tools such as spreadsheet and power point programs. Visit Stay Safe Online for Internet safety resources.
8. Public Transportation
For those who live in bigger cities, teaching children how to take public transportation is more of a given. But for those of us who live in cities where public transportation isn’t as common, these are important skills not to overlook. Be sure to include lessons on navigating and transferring lines as well as safety. Find great tips and suggestions for teaching children how to take public transportation check out this link.
9. Grocery Shopping
It’s easy enough for a child to walk in a store and buy a carton of eggs for $2.59, but to budget an entire week’s worth of groceries for a family of five… we all know it can take some planning. Help your children learn this important budgeting skill by having them assist you with planning meals, shopping for the food, calculating the cost, and paying the cashier. Get more tips and suggestions from Queen of Free.
10. Communication Skills
With the introduction of text messaging and social media, I think we’ve all noticed a decline in strong interpersonal communication skills. Your children will benefit greatly from knowing how to deal with personal and professional business over the phone, as well as just informal personal conversations. You can never start too early with this life skill.