As a parent, you need to be prepared to teach your children new skills at every stage of life. When your child is a toddler, you’re helping them explore the world, communicate, and learn basic manners. As your child enters elementary school, you’re there to guide them as they explore their academic and extracurricular interests. And when your child reaches their teenage years, you need to start preparing them for the responsibilities that come with adulthood.
It’s time to start working on essential life skills with your children so that they can handle their obligations independently when they leave the nest. This goes beyond assisting them with college applications or asking them about their future career aspirations. Here’s how to pass these skills on to your teen.
Assign Household Chores
Perhaps you’ve had your children help out around the house with basic chores since they were little. Now, it’s time to start delegating more responsibilities to your teens. This could include anything from deep cleaning to pet care to yard work. If your teen is hoping to move away for college, remind them that they will have to balance studying, work, socializing, and domestic responsibilities. It’s important that they start incorporating these obligations into their schedule now to get used to it.
Teach Budgeting Skills
Maybe your teen has just gotten their first part-time job. Or maybe they aren’t working just yet, but you do want them to learn how to start budgeting and managing money. If there are limited part-time job opportunities for teens in your area, you may want to give your teen a set allowance for completing their weekly chores. Sit down with your teen to go over the basics of budgeting. You can talk about monitoring their spending, setting savings goals, and how to keep taxes in mind when estimating their take-home pay.
Everyone should learn how to cook a few tasty, healthy dishes. Your teen doesn’t have to become an accomplished chef. But they should know the ins and outs of meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and food safety. You can also teach them how to find deals and save money at the grocery store! You can start teaching them how to prepare your family’s favorite dishes. Have your teen cook with you at least one night per week.
Tackle Basic Maintenance
When something breaks in your home, you can call up a contractor. But having the DIY skills to take care of home maintenance on your own can help you save big in the long run. If you’re confident in your own home maintenance skills, it’s time to show your teen the ropes. You can also teach them when it’s appropriate to call a contractor and how to budget for home maintenance and repairs so that they aren’t caught off guard by these expenses when they move out.
Allow More Independence
Finally, it’s important to understand that in order for your teen to learn the art of making smart decisions independently, you’ll need to gradually allow them more and more freedom. For a parent, this can be worrisome. You might be anxious about whether or not your teen will make the right choices or if they’ll apply the lessons that you’ve done your best to pass on. But letting your teen make mistakes is part of growing up. Knowing how to pick themselves up after stumbling is also a crucial life skill.