If your teenager is leaving for university or moving out in the next few years, you might be wondering how they’re going to survive on their own? Try not to worry too much as your child is much more capable than you probably think. Even so, now is a great time to teach your teen some practical skills which will leave both of you feeling more confident when it comes to them flying the nest for the first time.
1. How to cook the basics
Anyone can throw a frozen pizza in the oven, but eating balanced meals will be key if your teen wants to stay fit and healthy once they’ve left home. It will also be much cheaper than junk food and can be enjoyable once they know how! We recommend spending some time in the kitchen together, cooking basics like oats, rice, pasta, vegetables, jacket potatoes and chicken. Helping them learn a few simple meals they can cook in big batches and freeze will also be beneficial and perfect for lunch and dinners throughout the week. Great options for this are chilli con-carne, spaghetti bolognese and curry.
2. How to budget
Budgeting really is a vital life-lesson to start showing teens sooner rather than later, especially as you don’t want them to get into trouble with money or in huge amounts of debt. If you haven’t already, sit down with your teen and show them how to create a monthly budget depending on roughly how much they’ll have to spend each week. Explain in simple terms how you handle your own household income, spending and savings, as well as things you sometimes have to sacrifice to stay in budget. Discussing spending choices they’ll encounter more often once they’ve left home will also help them be a little more prepared. Ubers and takeout every night is tempting but really can add up!
3. How to write a professional email
Every teenager needs to know how to write a polite, concise, professional email. This means no slang or emoji’s, but instead a clear and professional tone. Show them an example you’ve written and get them to do a few practice runs by emailing them to you to look over. We guarantee this practice will come in handy once they’re studying or applying for jobs in the future. It’s also a good idea to encourage your teen to set up a professional email address, which includes their first and last name. We all know how silly it feels to recite a childhood email address when you’re a fully grown adult!
4. How to look after their health
If your teenager is moving out, likelihood is there will be late nights, pizza and parties involved. Making teens aware that all of these things are okay in moderation but not a good idea every night is important, especially for their health. It’s so easy to get into bad habits, especially when there are no parents nagging at you. Chat with your teen about easy ways they can look after their health, and ensure they’re aware of the effects that lack of sleep and excessive processed food can have on their life.
5. How to ask for help
Teenagers often think they can do it all, so it’s important that as their parents you remind them they’re not supposed to know how to do everything. There’s no shame in asking for help- in fact, independent people became that way by asking for help when they needed it. Identify some trusted people that your teen may be able to turn to for help once they have left home. This can include a university counselor, tutor, relative or family friend.