4 Essential Life Skills To Teach Your Kids Before College

4 Essential Life Skills To Teach Your Kids Before College

4 Essential Life Skills To Teach Your Kids Before College
As a parent, your kid’s life is full of small and big milestones. You will watch them take their very first steps, say their first of many words, and eventually even head off to their very first day of kindergarten. But…sending your kids off to college may be one of the scariest milestones you will experience.

Your kids are supposed to be all grown up now; however, you’ve watched them burn a perfectly good frozen pizza and make the silliest mistakes!

You know that your college-bound child is (in many ways) like a kid in a grown-up’s body.

Luckily, you can try to make your child slightly more confident and ready for a fully independent life – while you still have time. Before they head off to college you can make it a priority to teach them all of those big and small life skills – that any young adult in their late teens or early twenties should know.

Below are some life skills to share with your child to give them an awesome start to their adult life – and make you feel slightly safer sending them off to college.

Life Skill #1: Teach them important financing skills

4 Essential Life Skills To Teach Your Kids Before College
You need to make sure your child is knowledgable about basic budgeting. Without this life skill, they risk making some serious financial hiccups.

Young adults tend to rack up a lot of debt –  and not just in terms of their student loans.

  • They’ll use their credit cards to cover every imaginable expense.
  • They’ll take out an expensive cell phone on a contract.
  • They may even take out a loan – so that they’re able to achieve peak independence by owning their own car.

While none of these financial decisions are particularly wise, the credit card debt and that downpayment on a car will certainly hold them back more than anything else. If possible, try to ensure that your teen or young adult won’t have to buy a car – either by lending them one of your old ones  – or by helping them with finding accommodations a bit closer to campus.

More importantly, make sure that you talk to your kid about the importance of avoiding debt while they’re still young. Remind your child that once they’ve graduated and embarked on their career, it’s going to be dreadful to spend more than half of their salary just to pay down on a large credit card bill at the end of each month.

You can also talk with your child about finding a part-time job – or about the benefits of avoiding an expensive lifestyle altogether.

Basically, the sooner you’re able to teach your child that “credit” is not anything like “true money” – the better off they’ll be in the long run.

Life Skill #2: Teach them vital cooking skills

4 Essential Life Skills To Teach Your Kids Before College
Some students seem to take some sort of contradictory pride in being incompetent in the kitchen. Perhaps it gives them an excuse to avoid cooking – and rationalize ordering takeout.

You need to make your child aware that if they don’t learn to cook, they’ll end up with far less money – and perhaps even a few extra pounds to their body weight.

Being able to cook a decent meal is very much a life skill that is vital to human survival – and something that most people used to learn out of necessity.

These days, however, we have a wide range of options in terms of takeaway and frozen alternatives in the grocery shop – which makes it far too easy for your young adult to avoid cooking, eat unhealthy, and miss out on all of the joys of cooking up a delicious meal.

You should definitely take some time to teach your child their way around the kitchen. Give them a crash-course that will teach them to cook more than just a boiled egg for breakfast.

You should ask for their help in the kitchen as often as possible. Plus you should set up a day or two per week where they get to make whatever they want to for dinner. 

If your teenager wants to make pancakes for dinner, allow it, celebrate it, and praise him or her for their effort –  even if they’re slightly too thick or too thin. If they want to learn how to cook a favorite recipe you make for them – invite them into the kitchen with enthusiasm! It’s the sort of time together that really means a lot.

Life Skill #3: Teach them household and hygiene skills

4 Essential Life Skills To Teach Your Kids Before College
When you were at college yourself, you might have noticed a few stinky habits of your fellow roommates. It’s quite astonishing how many teenagers and young adults don’t know basic hygiene – such as taking showers and doing laundry regularly.

Before they head off to college, you should take time to teach your child how to operate that laundry machine once and for all. Plus you should go over how many times they should do laundry a month -including how often they should change their bed sheets. Plus you should emphasize the importance of doing dishes right after cooking.

Remind your child that you don’t want them to become that annoying stinky, messy roommate – who everyone complains about!

Life Skill #4: Teach them general safety tips

4 Essential Life Skills To Teach Your Kids Before College
If your teenager knows how to drive, you should give them a quick course in what to do in case of an emergency  – as well as how they can change a flat tire and even a car battery on their own.

You should also talk to them in general about not driving when they are drinking alcohol – and not taking rides from total strangers.  And of course there’s a range of talks to have with your child about safe sex and safe partying with friends.

You can take a look at these college safety tips for even more information on how to make sure that your teen makes the right kind of decisions at college.

Bonus Life Skill: Teach yourself to cope as well

4 Essential Life Skills To Teach Your Kids Before College
The key to dealing with this new chapter in a healthy way:  You must accept that you’ve completed your job as their sole provider – but still allow yourself to call and check up on your child in a consistent way.

A child is always going to need their parents – in some way. From now on, it’s going to be more about emotional support – rather than needing you to put their dinner on the table. You must embrace this new role – and get excited for the opportunity to know each other as adults.

Focus on everything you can do to support them.  Remember: One’s early 20’s can be quite stressful – as can trying to get their degree while simultaneously figuring out how the world works – and where they even fit into this world.

Your role as a parent will never really go away. It will just change into something else. Allow your child to make some mistakes – so that they can figure out how things work. And let them know you are always there for them if they need you.

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Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.

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