Teaching teens how to wash clothes properly is common advice for parents with high school students heading to college. But to be a self-sufficient adult, those skills are not enough. In fact, they’re nowhere close to enough. Advanced skills in academic areas aren’t going to help a young adult out of every jam he is likely to face in the next few years. Most of those predicaments probably will have nothing to do with Shakespeare, trigonometry or world history. What will he do when his car breaks down or he gets sick? Does she know how to navigate a job interview or a lunch with co-workers? Is he responsible with his money? Schools teach many of these skills, either directly or woven into other academic subjects. But it’s up to parents to make sure their teens can take care of themselves in the world. Here are the Top 7 skills local educators think are crucial to becoming an independent adult and how to teach them to your teens-
- Budgets and money – It’s important for teens to know how interest works and how to track their bank accounts online. Make sure your teen has his own bank account, and if he doesn’t, take him to the bank to open it. Help young teenagers practice managing money by giving them a quarterly clothing budget. Let them come up with a list of what they need, where they will buy the clothes and how much they will cost.
- Developing Social Skills – Your teen may know his way around an iPhone blindfolded, but to be successful in the workplace, he will need good manners and to be able to communicate and collaborate with others. Key skills include being able to meet new people and have successful interactions with them. The individual who is articulate and can present himself to a group of people goes a long way. Being able to defend a belief of yours is a skill you need for the rest of your life.
- Managing Time – Teens should be able to use a personal calendar by the time they graduate, in order to track appointments, important dates, and assignments. They also need to be able to plan their study time.
- Go global – Some campuses now require incoming students to apply for a passport with the expectation that they will become more aware of the world as a part of their education. Study abroad, learning a foreign language, or intense cultural studies are all great options.
- Learn to work as a team – The capacity to work successfully as a member of a diverse team is a learned skill and less a personality trait. It requires some practice and experience.
- Learn to be an excellent writer – While some might argue that prose was lost with this generation and replaced for social media abbreviations, the ability to express complex ideas, synthesize large amounts of information, and advance logical arguments in a written format are still very valuable assets in the workplace.
- What makes you happy – It may sound cliche, but many high school students are so stressed from the demands of coursework and the college application process that they enter adulthood unaware of what truly energizes them and brings them joy. Taking time to understand what makes you the happiest will help you avoid pitfalls when it comes to making big decisions in later life.