Happy Thursday Mamas! I’ve had a lot on my mind this week and much of it is my oldest daughter. She starts drivers ed next week, turns seventeen this year, and the amount of mail from colleges is rapidly increasing. In two years my baby will be turning the page on the next chapter in her life and I want her to be equipped with life skills she will need and I feel like I’ve failed so far.
A Year of Teaching Teens Life Skills
There are a lot of things schools don’t teach kids to prepare them for the real world. That’s my job and I’ve been slacking in a few areas. They have chores and understand proper hygiene but I’ve never shown them how to change a tire or what they will need to maintain in their first apartment. In our house, 2018 is a year of teaching teens life skills and I encourage you to do the same with your teens.
I’ve broken down a year of teaching teens life skills into monthly topics. Do them in order, switch them around, or even add your own to suit your child’s needs. Plan some time each month to sit down together and talk about that month’s life skills topic and get them involved hands-on.
A Year of Teaching Teens Life Skills: Month by Month Topics
January: Doing Taxes
- Talk about why, how, and when to file taxes.
- Show them tax forms or a tax website.
- Mention different things to do with a tax refund: pay off debt, save, splurge, invest, etc.
February: Teaching Teens Money Management
- Teach teens about budgeting their money. Here’s a great article on Teaching Kids How to Budget that I will be using as a resource.
- Discuss the monthly bills you have as an adult.
- Show teens how to balance a checkbook, write a check, and use an ATM.
- Talk about credit cards. How to apply for them, what interest is, and how to use them wisely.
- If they don’t already have a job, talk about paychecks. Frequency, cashing them, and what comes out of it.
- Reading clothing labels for washing and drying instructions.
- Operating and maintaining a washer and dryer including emptying the lint trap and checking for socks inside the washer.
- How and what to iron.
- Talk about the basic sewing needs to have on hand: needle, thread, a bag of buttons because you always keep the extra buttons that come with clothes, safety pins, tape, etc.
- How to measure and hem clothes. (I have to admit that my daughter is a better sewer than me and should probably be teaching me this life skill!)
- Talk about what types of clothes to wear for what occasions.
- Show them how to pack a suitcase.
- Talk about the different things you can plant in your area.
- Start a garden with flowers or vegetables and put your teen in charge of caring for it this year.
- Show them how to mow if they don’t already know, as well as pulling weeds.
- Get them involved in spring clean-up of the yard and house including cleaning out gutters.
- Discuss the different tools needed to maintain a yard including a mower, rake, shovel, ladder, etc.
- Show them how to air up and change a tire, as well as how to check oil and change oil. Almost three years ago my husband taught me how to change the oil in our van and it was honestly a great feeling doing it. I’m glad I’ll be showing my kids before they are 30!
- Talk about the different types of gasoline and how to pump it.
- Get them involved in hand washing the car.
- Discuss how to stay safe on the road when they are alone. Not pulling over or stopping for strangers, parking in well-lit areas at night, and what to do if they get a flat tire.
June: Basic First Aid Skills
- Talk about what to have in a first aid kit at home.
- Discuss how to treat different ailments like burns, bug bites, sunburns, and cuts.
- If a CPR class is offered to teens in your area consider signing up for it. My daughter took one a few years ago with Girl Scouts but we could both use a refresher.
- The important numbers to have on hand: doctor’s office, local emergency room, and poison control.
July: Self-Care and Healthcare
- Talk about the different appointments, both dental and doctor, they will need to make for themselves as an adult.
- Discuss healthcare and how long they can stay on your plan as well as what they need to do for healthcare when they age out of your plan.
- Discuss how important self-care is and that even when college is at it’s busiest point you still need to take time for yourself to relax and recharge. Being involved in clubs or organizations, taking hobby classes, reading books, scheduling time with friends, and even taking a break to come home for a day or two are great ideas for self-care in college.
August: Digital Life Skills
- Why it’s important to secure your digital life and how to do it.
- Discuss limiting time on social media and general use of the internet.
- If you use great apps to keep life organized as an adult share them with your teen if they’ll be helpful after high school and in college.
- Talk about creating difficult passwords and the importance of not using the same one everywhere.
September: Cooking and Kitchen Skills
- How to clean and maintain basic kitchen appliances like fridges, stoves, toasters, and microwaves.
- Cook a variety of meals together including breakfast, lunch, and dinner giving them an arsenal of recipes.
- What different pans are used for and the basic ones you need to start off with.
- Go shopping together and talk about all the different ingredients and where to find things.
- Show them how to properly store different foods.
- Teach them how to read food labels.
October: Time Management Skills
- Give your teen a planner or calendar if they don’t already have one.
- Sit down together and talk about schedules and routines. Help them plan one out that works well for them.
- Talk about prioritizing activities when schedule conflicts arise.
November: Home Management
- Talk to your child about the different maintenance a home or apartment needs. Changing smoke detector batteries, changing furnace filters, cleaning clogged drains, how to shut off the water, how to turn on a blown fuse, etc.
- Get them involved with all the cleaning of the house. My kids have chores but cleaning goes way beyond that so we’ll be getting down and dirty so they can really see how much mom does and what they have to look forward to.
December: Navigational Skills
- Show them how to read different types of maps.
- Give them ideas on where to find directions.
- Talk about the different types of transportation and how to use them.
Now, I know it’s already January and I’m a little late getting started but I haven’t even started to file my taxes so there’s that. Starting February 1st though, I will bring you more in-depth ideas for each month’s topic. I’m excited to fill my teen’s brain with the knowledge and skills she needs to start off on the right foot. I hope you and your teen join us for a year of teaching teens life skills!