*Caution, affiliate links ahead…Don’t worry, I’ll use the money for something practical, like wine…. or a pony!
You may not be ready to start teaching your 11 or 12-year-old everything about life, but sadly, life won’t stop even if you aren’t ready for it. As parents, we are responsible for teaching our kids more than just how to read, write, and do their homework. We are responsible for teaching our kids life skills that will help them succeed and be contributing members of society. So many kids go into the world completely unprepared for the reality of adulting so here are 20 life skills you need to start teaching your tween today!
Teach your tween to save. In a world full of credit cards and impulse shopping, kids aren’t learning what saving means or how to do it. Take your teen to the bank to open up their own savings account and have hem save up for things they want.
Teach your tween the value of a dollar. This goes hand in hand with teaching your kids to save, but it’s so important that it needed its own number. Kids generally don’t have a clue what it takes to make the money they so easily spend from you. Make them work for what they get. Have them do chores for new clothes, shoes, or other unnecessary items.
Teach your tween to grocery shop. How will they ever learn to budget if they don’t have an opportunity to do so? Let them help plan out the grocery list and set a budget for it. Let them shop while you stroll through the aisles with Starbucks in hand. The big payoff comes when they are teens and can actually go by themselves, giving you time to drink all the wine….er… clean and do laundry.
Show them your bills. Tweens aren’t learning the concept of bills or even how to pay them. Show your tween the phone bill or electric bill and teach them how to pay them. You can even have them help you pay them.
Show them how to balance a checkbook. Most people don’t use checks anymore, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to balance your account. Teach your tween how to know how much money is left after spending a day.
Teach your tween how to do laundry. You would be surprised to know how many adults don’t know how to do laundry when they get out on their own. Show them how to sort clothes so they don’t bleed. Show them how to fold clothes so they all fit in the drawers. Make sure they know how to work the washer and dryer. (here is a great laundry cheat sheet to help them get started!)
Teach your tween basic cooking skills. You can do this by giving your tween a day of the week to cook dinner for the family. Look up recipes and teach your tween how to follow the recipe. Plus you get out of cooking dinner once or twice a week. Bonus!
Teach them how to sew. No one really knows how to sew anymore. Instead of throwing clothes out, teach your tween how to sew and repair their clothes themselves.
Show them what an iron looks like. Wrinkles may be the style in school, but in the real world, jobs want to see that you can take care of yourself. If you can’t take care of how you look then how will you take care of the responsibilities of a job?
Teach your tween how to apply for jobs. There are jobs out there for tweens such as detasseling corn, cutting grass or delivering the paper. Teach your tween how to talk to others about a job or how to apply for one before the time comes.
Teach them the value of education. College isn’t cheap and if your tween is planning to go to college, they need to know the cost of that education. Show them how to get scholarships and pay for college without the debt of school loans.
Teach your tween how to change a tire. With cell phones, this may seem unnecessary, but if you teach them now, you won’t have to worry when they are a teen.
Personal Growth Skills
Give your tween opportunities to think for themselves. Let them make decisions so they know how to think for themselves in the real world. Ask them to help you make hard decisions such as pros and cons for moving.
Teach your tween to be accountable. Owning up to mistakes and humbling yourself is a trait that is crucial for successful adulting (I know several adults that haven’t mastered that skill!). Teach your tween to apologize when they have offended and hurt someone. Show them that actions have consequences. Above all teach them to admit when they have done something wrong and not make excuses about it.
Teach your tween manners. For the LOVE OF GOD, please teach your tween manners! As your child gets older, their mouth
may will start getting more out of control. Teach them that being disrespectful in life won’t get them anywhere and they need to use their verbal powers for good and not evil.
Teach them to help others. Find a place to volunteer food banks, animal shelters, and senior centers are great places to take your kids to show them how they can make a huge impact on the life of someone else. Doing this will teach them what it feels like to do good things, even when you don’t get a reward for it.
Let them make mistakes. This is hard for any parent, but allowing your child to make mistakes or fail in something shows them that there are consequences in life. Let them fail and let them rebuild. No matter how big or small, life consequences can sometimes be harder than discipline.
Teach them what a real friend looks like. Whether in your own relationships or through experience, you want your tweens to know who their real friends are. Show them what a good friend looks like and model in your own life.
Be open with them about dangers. The world is full of scary people. Teach them the danger of online predators, teach them about bullying (how to prevent being a victim and how to advocate for victims), teach them what to do in an emergency and please, please enroll your tween in at least one self-defense class!
Teach your tween about the laws. The laws are there to protect us, but many of us still don’t know all the laws. Teach your tween about underage drinking, drugs, stealing, vandalism and bullying.
Your tween is capable of learning some pretty hefty life skills, and the more you teach them, the more they will be prepared for the real world. What other life skills have you taught your tween? Share in the comments below!
What other life skills have you taught your tween? Share in the comments below!