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7 Basic Skills Every Kid Should Have by High School

By HERWriter
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7 Basic Skills Every Kid Need to Have by High School olly/Fotolia

We love our kids and love doing things for them. However, at some point helping is not helping.

Our high schoolers will be leaving home and we are not doing them any favors if they cannot do those basic “live on your own” activities without our help.

Here are some things your high schooler needs to know how to do:

1) Wash their own clothes

This one is pretty basic and pretty necessary. Show your teen the ropes and let them come up with their own system.

Honestly, it is OK if they mix colored with whites as long as the clothes are older. The dyes don’t usually run.

2) Research product information or call for a problem

If your teen wants to buy anything, they should be able to research as to whether the product has decent reviews, and know how to search for the best price. Even on Amazon, the prices can widely vary.

The most important question they must learn to ask is what's the return policy. Even if the item cannot be returned, knowing that is part of a buying decision. And if there is a problem with the product, they need practice calling and explaining the issue themselves.

3) Take a bus or subway

Taking a bus or subway is necessary in many parts of the country, particularly in a city, or if they travel in Europe. Understanding those transit maps is definitely within a teen’s skill level, especially if they play computer games.

Google has gotten so good that they now have Google Maps Transit to help so you know just when to leave and when you will arrive at your destination.

4) Cook basic foods

All high schoolers should know how to make sandwiches, eggs or spaghetti. They may go off to college and eat on the food plan but in no time, they will be living on their own and need to cook these basic meals.

Grocery shopping is an extension of this. Periodically send them to store to pick up a few items to get practice.

5) Wake up without mom

Students have to make it to class, to tests and to their job on time without you. Between their phones, their laptops and their regular alarm clock, many back-up alarms can be set to make sure they get up.

Sure, if it is a big event and you want to be certain they don’t miss it then help them out, but on a regular basis, they need to learn how to get up on their own.

6) Basic banking

Show your teen your monthly bank statement, or log in and show them online. If they don’t have their own bank account, open one.

When checks come in for them or you can offer to pay them with a check, then show them how to endorse the check, how to fill in a deposit or withdrawal slip, and let them go to the window themselves to do the transaction.

When my son was in high school, I used a refillable debit card through our bank for his day-to-day charges. He had to track the amount of money he spent, what was left on the card and remind me if it needed to be filled even though I also received emails if the balance was low.

7) Offer to help without being prompted

This one is tough because it is so obvious to us when things need to be done, but our kids often don’t see it.

Often this lesson is more easily taught to encourage them to help others or during their first real job. Explain why this is a valuable trait and appreciated by others.

Fortunately, if you hear that your child automatically clears their plate or pitches in at someone else’s house, you know that some of this training is going in.

Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s health care and quality of care issues.

Edited by Jody Smith

12 Basic Life Skills Every Kid Should Know by High School. Parenting. Retrieved August 20, 2016.

5 Best Prepaid Debit Cards. Wisebread.com. Retrieved August 20, 2016.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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