Don't make your kids learn the hard way! Teach these life skills for teens and be assured they have the knowledge needed to be a capable adult before they leave the nest. Plus, they can help out around the house once they learn these beneficial and necessary skills!
Did your parents teach you all the life skills so that you could rock at life in the real world? If so, then you're one of the lucky ones! Some of us had to learn the hard way. Now, we're not saying that learning from the school of hard knocks won't teach you some great life lessons, because it totally will!
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However, it's best to teach our teens these life lessons while they're still at home. Let's see if we can help them not fail quite so miserably when they walk out of our doors and into their new adult lives! Include them when you do these things at home and you'll not only give them new skills but also make great memories together!
HOW TO TEACH TEENS LIFE LESSONS
Hello, is this thing on?? Seriously, sometimes that's how it can feel when you're trying to talk to your teen! You don't want your talks to go in one ear and out the other. Not only is that frustrating for you, but it's annoying for them, too. The key to making these life skills for teens stick with them for the rest of their lives is to have them do it themselves.
Don't just talk at them, that will get you nowhere quick! Explain to them how to do it and then have them do it themselves. Give them a problem and have them find the solution. Physically show them how to do it, then let them get in there and do it on their own. They will learn so much quicker and it will stay with them longer when they're able to learn from doing the task.
NECESSARY LIFE SKILLS FOR TEENS
Alright, so let's get on to the different life skills that your teen needs to know. Help them be able to function in society without falling flat on their face. Don't get us wrong, they will still make mistakes! They'll still put too much detergent in the washing machine and end up having their knees sud up in the rain when walking to class. (Not that we know anything about that…) They'll still probably spend too much money on the “fun” things and then realize that they're in a pickle when they don't have enough gas money to come home.
However, it's much better for them to learn those smaller, not-so-harsh life lessons on their own versus going into complete credit card debt the first year they're out of the house because they didn't know the dos and don'ts of credit cards. Teach them these life skills for teens and they'll be much better prepared for the real world. Rest easy knowing that you've done what you can for your teen. One day, they'll thank you for it!
TEACH THEM TO BUDGET
Do you remember what it was like the first time you were out on your own? The stresses of trying to figure out your budget while also wanting to be able to play and live a little was not a fun experience. Help your teens out and teach them how to budget before they're out on their own.
Sit them down and go over everything they'll eventually be in charge of paying for, such as gas, groceries, rent, and utilities. Lay it all out in front of them so they realize that everything costs money. Even those fun things can add up quickly!
Rather than having them go out into the world thinking that water is free and going to the movies is cheap, prepare them for the real world. This is one of the biggest life skills for teens you can teach them!
One of the best ways they can learn this life skill is by giving them a set of numbers and have them go to town. Give them a monthly bring-home income and a set of common bills they would need to pay for. Then, have them figure out what they would have leftover after paying for the necessities. Let them decide if hanging out with their friends is more important than having groceries that would last a lot longer.
Take your teachings into the real world and literally give them a budget that they're completely in control of. A school clothing budget is always a good place to start. We have some great tips on how to do that, so be sure to check those out!
Here are a few more budgeting-related items we would definitely suggest teaching them:
- Teach them about the 70% rule in a way teens can understand.
- Teach them the easiest way to budget and keep track of everything!
- Let them learn the art of delayed gratification, especially in an “I need it now!” world.
- They definitely need to know all about credit scores and the proper way to go about improving them.
- Don't forget about credit cards! There's a lot more to them than most people think.
All of those things, and more, are so important for you and your family, so they'll be important to your kid one day as well! Budgeting is definitely one of the most crucial life skills they'll need.
MEAL PLANNING LIFE SKILLS FOR TEENS
This goes hand-in-hand with sticking to the budget! It's so so SO important for your teens to learn how to shelf cook. Once they learn to meal plan using what they have first and supplementing with items from the grocery store, they will be golden when they go out into the real world!
The best way to teach them this is to just throw them into the thick of things and have them do it themselves! Have them inventory your fridge, freezer, and pantry first, using our cute and easy inventory printable. Once they have everything written down, have them come up with 20 different meals they could make using those ingredients.
When they're done, sit down with them and go over it. Explain to them if meals wouldn't go together because the flavor profiles are different. Feel free to sing their praises if they put together some good meals! Take it a step further and add their meals to your weekly menu. They'll be able to take pride in what they created.
TEACH THEM TO GROCERY SHOP
Another of the important life skills for teens, and one that goes hand-in-hand with budgeting and meal planning, is how to grocery shop on a budget. Since the grocery budget is one of the biggest areas that you can spend way too much money on, it's definitely important for your kids to learn that not all items at the grocery store are created equal.
Once they learn how to meal plan using what they already have, then they're ready to learn how to shop smart at the grocery store. Explain to them that the prices on the shelves will show them the price per ounce or unit. That price is key when they're looking to save the most money.
Definitely reiterate how important it is to make a grocery list of only the items they need. Let them know that sticking to that grocery list is the best way to leave the grocery store without going over budget. Have them help you make a grocery list, then go to the store to help you pick out the items you need. Put them in charge of finding everything and they'll quickly learn where to find all the different items at the store. No roaming around and no impulse buys for them! 😉 You can even go so far as to let them pay for the groceries with your cash or card.
COOKING LIFE SKILLS FOR TEENS
Now that your teens know how to meal plan and grocery shop, let's get them cooking! We may or may not know how easy it is to burn some microwavable macaroni and cheese if you forget to add the water. (Seriously, don't try that at home, kids!) Don't turn your young adult loose into the world without teaching them these imperative life skills for teens.
They will be so grateful for you! Not to mention the money they'll save by staying home and cooking versus constantly grabbing takeout because they don't want to learn to cook on their own. Help them out by teaching them to cook at home. Bonus points – you'll have a new helper in the kitchen, woot woot!
Teach your kids how to read a recipe, show them all of the different kitchen utensils and what they do, show them how to cut an onion without cutting their finger off. Then, let them loose! Have them help you every night when you cook dinner. Make fun memories while you bake cookies and create masterpieces. It doesn't just have to be work for them, make it a fun time for both of you that you'll look back on for years to come.
TEACH THEM THE IMPORTANCE OF CLEANING THE HOUSE
Hopefully, your teens help you clean house and already know all there is to keeping a house clean. Whether that's the case or not, it's always good to give them a refresher course! Teach them how they need to clean and disinfect the counters after they finish cooking. (ECloths are our favorite to do this! Use code JORDAN for 10% off!)
Share your daily cleaning schedule with them and explain to them how doing one task daily helps you stay on top of your house so that Saturday isn't full of cleaning all day long. Teach them how to use the cleaning supplies properly and safely. Let them practice all by themselves in their rooms and bathrooms. 😉 They'll thank you for this later!
TEACH THEM HOW TO DO LAUNDRY
We all have our own specific way of doing laundry. (Ours has basically broken the internet!) If you're anything like us, then your kids probably already know how to do laundry. Ours start helping us sort at a young age, then work their way up to where they can do their own laundry by the time they're older. If that's not the case for your family, then now is the time to remedy that!
Teach them how to sort their clothes by texture, which settings to use for the different types of loads, and how much detergent to use. Seriously, they don't want to learn the hard way on the detergent!!! 😉
Then teach them about which types of fabrics may shrink and how to know when it's best to line dry versus drying them in the machine. Our washer and dryers can make or break our clothes. Nobody wants to spend a lot of money on clothes because the dryer shrunk theirs and now they only fit the dog. (Even though that may be a funny sight.) These life skills for teens are important to help them stay on budget and keep from having to buy a lot of extra clothes!
DEVELOP THEIR TALENTS
One of the last life skills for teens that you can help with is to develop their talents. Are they particularly interested in something that can take them far in life? Get on YouTube together and learn things from videos. The sky's the limit! They can learn to film and edit videos, take art lessons, do stop motion, learn calligraphy, take and edit pictures, or learn about coding. Whatever their passion is, you'll be able to find it on YouTube! Just make sure that you supervise anytime your teens are on ye ole tube.
Alright, well now you know all about the life skills for teens that we think are most important. What else would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments, along with how you go about teaching your teen those skills.
Do you need help with some aspects of this as well? If you need help with your budget, then we've got just the thing for you! Check out Budget Boot Camp, a super fun online video program that helps to make understanding your money easy!
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If you need help figuring out when you're going to work all of these life skills into your busy schedule, then you'll definitely want to look into Productivity Boot Camp! It's a great video program online that helps you to tackle your pain points, freeing up more time for you to be able to enjoy your family and the things that matter most to you.
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- Need help lowering your utilities? Check out these posts that will help you to lower your water, heating and electric bills!
- Think you know all there is to know about your spouse? Use these fun get to know you questions and see if you can learn something new!
- Stop struggling during the day and get more energy in your life! You'll feel better and be more productive, yay!
Now, go teach those teens that they are 100% capable!
When my son was 10, I gave him responsibility for buying cat food and litter after debating with him why I wouldn’t buy the tiny “gourmet” cans. I gave him a generous budget for the month and explained the price per ounce. The only requirement was that he had to buy food the cat liked, not just the cheapest. He could keep any money that was left over after taking care of the food and litter. He learned to clip coupons and watch for sales. He always had money left over at the end of the month and I was one proud mama!