Studies show that many students these days have little skills when entering the real world. We live in a world with helicopter parents and apps that do everything for us, but we need to be teaching our kids actual skills. Some students have little to no understanding of how to cook a meal, manage their money, do laundry or even how to make a phone call for themselves! They’re increasing having difficulty transitions from home to college, and that responsibility begins at home. The younger you can teach your kids these basic life skills the more confident they become overall. It’s so important that parents don’t do everything for our kids, we need to let them fail a little, we need to give them the knowledge needed to be independent. Here are some basic life skills to teach your tween or teen to set them up for success.

  •  How to safely use rideshare (Uber) 
  •  Change the oil
  • Change a car tire 
  •  How to pump gas 
  •  Navigate the bus/taxi system
  •  How to withdraw money 
  •  Check account balance, understand a statement 
  •  How to responsibly use a credit card 
  •  Understand what interest is  
  •  Create and maintain a budget 
 Social Skills:  
  •  Tip in a restaurant 
  •  How to shake a hand, maintain eye contact, etc. 
  •  How to call to book or change an appointment doctor, dentist (have a calendar, health card 3 ready, etc.)   
Household Maintenance:
  • Turn the water off 
  •  Set or adjust the thermostat 
  •  Unclog a toilet 
  •  Change a lightbulb 
  •  Use basic tools for household repairs
 Health & Wellness: 
  •  Read a nutrition label 
  •  Grocery Shop / Make healthy choices
  •  Basic cooking skills (boil pasta, safely cook meat, make rice)  
  •  Mail a package 
  •  Address an envelope / Buy and use postage stamps 
  •  Refill a subscription   
 Career & Schooling: (most appropriate for high school students) 
  •  Apply for student loans 
  •  College Applications 
  •  Writing in complete sentences!
  •  Write a resume and cover letter
  •  Understand the difference between doctor appt, Urgent Care, and the ER 
  •  Basic First Aid Training   
  •  How to handle medical emergencies/call 911 etc.
  •  Choosing appropriate clothing for the occasion 
  •  How to do laundry  
  •  Personal grooming: shaving tips, product selection etc.
 Friends and family:
  •  Valuing relationships and people in their lives.
  • Maintaining healthy family relationships (call your sister on her birthday!)
  • Party etiquette, including how to be host and guest (don’t show up empty-handed)
  • Respecting other people’s views, no matter how different from your own. You don’t have to agree, but you must be kind. 
 Personal Safety: (applies to themselves and their friends)   
  •  Using common sense; letting friends/family know where you’re going 
  •  How to get out of an uncomfortable situation 
  •  The importance of saying no 
  •  The importance of respecting when others say no 
 Tips for parents:  

You may feel like doing everything for your kids is helping them. The opposite is true. Making them do things themselves is setting them up for success in life. It’s so crucial that we’re teaching our tweens and teens basic life skills. By learning how to take care of themselves, with basic skills, your teaching them how to care for others, how to contribute to the community and how to have the confidence to manage themselves effectively in the world.

Stop doing everything for your tweens and teens. If they’re looking for a summer job, make them responsible for the whole process, from searching to phone calls. Please DO NOT do it for them; you’re not helping them.  

In a store, make them approach the teller and make purchases; this can begin at a very young age. 

Encourage them to make intelligent choices and make sure they understand that poor choices come with consequences. Let them make decisions, but don’t leave big decisions in your teen’s hands; guide them through it. 

Teach them integrity, resilience, and adaptability! 

Looking for ways to keep your teens busy this summer? Here are some great ideas!


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