Adulting: Teach Your (nearly) Grown Kids the 9 Skills They Need Now

Did you know that universities now offer classes on adulting? That means there are enough freshmen coming in that don’t know how to do laundry and basic money management that they need to teach it in college. Yikes! Have you seen the video with my eight-year-old teaching college kids how to do laundry? He made that because a college babysitter saw him doing our family laundry and told him that most of her friends didn’t know how.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay a school for college credits to teach my kids about some basic housekeeping skills. The average college credit is $594. So for a three credit course on adulting, you are paying $1782 for them NOT to take university level math or humanities. Save the money and teach these basic skills.

During their teen years (and even younger) is a good time to start teaching these skills. By the time they are ready to be on their own, they can have the basic skills needed to maintain a household and function as an adult. Here are some of the skills you should focus on.

1. Laundry

The early they learn this, the better! Make this a chore from the time they are younger and can reach into the washing machine. Not only will it make them more self-sufficient at home, it will also keep you from having those bags of laundry follow them home on breaks from college.

If you want, you can show them that video of my son!

2. How to Make an Appointment

It seems like a simple task, but many parents still have to make appointments for their teens and even adults. Instead, teach them responsibility and get them ready to make appointments now and in the future. You’ll also teach them how to stick to a schedule. So the next time they need to go to the doctor (even if they’re sick), or orthodontist, or to take a driver’s test or set up tutoring, tell them to call! In my family we share one google calendar, so they can always look to see when they’re free, and even when I am if they need a ride.  Make sure they put the appointment into their calendar while they’re still texting or calling for the time. That’s an important habit. At first, you may want to keep track of the appointment they made and send them a reminder.

3. How to Ask For What They Want

This is not just handy when visiting a store, but when they are out of school and are asking for a raise or expressing themselves in their relationships. This is something you can start from a young age by allowing your kids to order their own food, talking to teachers and coaches and friends’ parents without your help whenever possible. They will learn a whole bunch of life lessons by asking for things from adults and communicating with people they don’t know well.

4. Basic First Aid and CPR

Your young adults should know how to take care of a cut, or know when a cold needs to be checked out by a doctor. They should also know things like the Heimlich maneuver and CPR. These skills could save a friend or strangers life and they aren’t difficult to teach. There are even apps now for basic first aid.

Hands Only CPR Video

First Aid for Choking from the Mayo Clinic

5. How to Write a Check and Balance a Checkbook

Basic money management skills are important. Chances are they will have a checkbook or debit card so they should know how to keep track of their money to avoid overdraft fees and be responsible stewards of their money. Even checks haven’t completely disappeared, especially for people just starting out in the world of rent and utilities. This is a great reason to give kids an allowance, and not be their endless ATM machine.

6. How to Cook a few Healthy Meals.

Learning how to cook for yourself is an important skill. Not only will it save money (eating out is expensive!), it will also be a great way to teach them how to prepare food that is healthy. A tween or young teen can learn to prepare a meal for the family.

7. How to Communicate Professionally

Your young adults should know how to email and write correspondence (yes, email not text message) in a professional capacity. This is a skill they will need when communicating with professors in college, other adults and in a work environment.

8. What to Do in an Emergency

Fender benders, illnesses and other minor (and sometimes major) emergencies occur. Does your kid know what to do in those situations? When your child gets their license, you should go over situations that may occur when they are out on the road. Talk to them about what to do in an accident, if they get broken down on the side of the road, if they get pulled over by a police officer or if they come across a breakdown or accident.

9. How to Be a Good Roommate

If you weren’t related to your child, would you want to live with them? It matters! Does your child know how to share a couch and a TV? Keep common areas clean? Move someone else’s laundry to the dryer rather than dump it on the floor? Ask everyone else if they need something when they get a drink from the kitchen for themselves? Clean a bathroom? If you don’t teach your teen to be a decent roommate, they will lose out on housing opportunities and likely lose friendships.

By taking the time to teach your kids these skills now will ensure they are prepared for the future.

What would you add to this list? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter!

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