Here are 20 basic life skills for adults that will help your child get ready for the real world.
1. Do laundry, from start to finish.
This includes basics, like reading garment labels, sorting by color or fabric, and knowing when to use the delicate cycle. If your child will be visiting Laundromats, walk them through one beforehand and be sure to point out the change machine.
2. Shop for and make a meal.
If a dorm room is in your child’s near future, their microwave is about to become a go-to cooking tool. Prior to leaving your home, have your child pick up a few canned soups, frozen entrees, and instant noodle and rice dishes to experiment with (let them do this alone to experience grocery shopping). Not only will they learn to cook for themselves à la the microwave, they’ll have a few ideas of what they like and where to find those things in the store.
3. Make their own doctor/dentist/general appointment.
Half of the parents in this poll said their 18-year-old didn’t know how to schedule a doctor appointment, even though it’s probably one of the most important life skills for adults. Eighteen-year-olds are in charge of their health services, which means parents can’t access that information or intervene unless their child signs a form granting access to their medical information.
4. Apply for a job or a gig.
This is the first step on the road to employment, followed by well-written cover letters and comprehensive résumés. If your high school senior hasn’t filled out a job application before, look up a few examples online and chat about filling in the blanks. For some extra fun, subject them to a few interview questions. They’ll love it.
5. Open a new account.
Maybe it’s a gym membership, library card, credit card, or bank account—either way, your child will be opening up new accounts in their name at some point along the way. With each new account comes responsibilities, like paying late payment fees on credit cards, monitoring gym membership dues, or keeping track of borrowed books. Give them the rundown on creating and managing personal accounts.
6. Create a monthly budget and then live on it.
Whether you’re providing financial assistance or your child is officially on their own, it’s essential to their success that they learn to track their spending and live within their means. They can get started by downloading a free budgeting app, like Mint, to their phone or creating a monthly budget that includes total monthly income and expenses.