I have been teaching for a long time and one thing I have observed more lately than in the past is that teenagers are not learning life skills that they will need as an adult. These life skills are needed so they can function and be productive as they get out of school and pursue their dreams and goals. Lots of people joke about it, but you would be surprised at the amount of kids that do not know how to do many of the things listed below. For those that teach your kids these life skills. Good for you and congratulations on teaching them how to be responsible, accept accountability in life and grow their life skills. Below are things my mom and dad taught me growing up and these skills are still needed for our current kids and teenagers.
As they get older, give them more and more responsibility and teach them how being accountable is important in life. You will not always be there, be around or be able to do it for them. Help them grow up knowing basic life skills needed for a successful life. These activities build confidence and grow their level of success by having transferrable life skills for the 21st Century.
1- Teach them how to cook. When I went to college and moved out I could cook more than Mac and Cheese or Ramen Noodles. Cooking requires the use of memory, measuring and other life skills. It teaches them to adapt, make changes and fix things as they go.
2- Teach them to do their own laundry. I know moms hate to do all that laundry (until their kid goes off to college). Teach them to do laundry, to fold and sort laundry. Teach them to take care of their clothes because they are expensive.
3- Teach your children and teenagers to be fiscally responsible with money. They need to learn to save money, learn about spending habits, how to manage credit and other financial matters. Worst thing a young adult can do is go into the world and not manage money smartly. Teaching them now will help them to be more financially sound as adults.
4- Teach them how to type on a computer, laptop and write a letter. They need to know the difference in text talk and actually professional talk required to complete a resume for jobs and careers. LOL, IDK, Yo and all that other text talk does not cut it on the job or on an application.
5- Teach them how to be active and healthy. Being healthy is important and is part of an active lifestyle that will allow them to have the energy and wellness to be successful in life. They do not have to be a gym rat or real fit. Just have good exercise patterns and activity in life.
6- Teach them the value of hard physical labor. Get them off the video games, off the couch and into the yard to cut some wood. Cleanup the yard, mow, pick up trash, trim the bushes and other things that will teach them that hard physical labor and the ability to use tools is a good thing. Many young people can make a great living with tools, trades and good labor skills.
7-Teach them accountability. Your kids must learn to be held accountable in life for their thoughts, actions, comments, reactions and behaviors. Not teaching them discipline and accountability will disable them later in life. Enable them by making sure they understand every action good or bad has a life consequence.
8- Teach them to dress correctly. There is a time and place or flip flops, chill clothes and shades. There is also a time for dressing to the occasion, having clean and neat clothes on. Like going to get a job, an interview and going to church.
9- Teach them how to do basic repairs and maintain a car. Teenagers need to know how to change a tire. How to fix a lose screw. How to use a drill, a hammer, drive nails, build things and tear things down. This can spur an interest in a career and save them lots of money as adults when they need to do basic repairs at home.
10- Teach them good time management skills. Do not be that parent that is always late and getting your kids to school right when the bell rings. Get them out of bed early, get them off to school, sporting events, practice. dance class and all that other stuff on time. Teach them to be early 15 minutes so they do not build a habit of being late for school, work, and appointments.
11- Teach them how to clean. Cleanliness is important and a life skill they will need when they have an apartment, condo or home, Untidy and unclean homes breed disease and laziness. Make them do the dishes, clean their room, wash clothes, mow yards, and other stuff adults assume they cannot do. If they do not do their chores then discipline them.
12- Teach them to do volunteer work. Work with them to develop the skills to help others, serve the community and other people. Serving and helping others is becoming a lost skill and one that everyone needs at times. This teaches them to put other above themselves and will humble them to see that others have it worse than they do.
13- Teach them manners and respect. Teach your kids to be nice, thankful, gracious, kind hearted and positive. Teach them to say yes sir, yes mam, no mam, no sir, please and thank you. These words will get them respect, impress people and help them find and keep a job. Nobody likes a disrespectful little brat!
14- Teach them the value of family and friends. Kids need to know that family and friends are the number one source of help, support, and well being. We all need some type of family “blood kin or otherwise” to help guide us and take care of our emotional needs.
15- Lastly, teach your kids that setting goals, working hard, acting in a positive manner, being nice, being helpful, being a go getter and other life skills is needed for them to be successful at whatever they want or desire. Nobody owes your kids anything in life so make sure they are equipped with the life skills to pull it off and pursue their dreams and goals.
Your kids, teenagers, sons, daughters, siblings, cousins, friends and family will likely exhibit the behaviors that you model for them. What is allowed will persist is an old saying a great coach and mentor once told me. What he was saying to me as a young coach and teacher was “Coach, if you let them do what they want, do not teach them about accountability then you are modeling bad behavior, ideals, actions, thoughts and speech”. They in turn will act the same way and fail at life until they figure it out, hopefully not before it is too late.
Blessings on a skilled and wonderful life for your kiddos!