Life Skills: Are they ready to be an adult?

It’s natural for parents to ask if they have prepared their children enough for life, especially when they are about to transition to adulthood. In the late teenage years, most secondary learners are immersed in core subjects such as math, science, and English language arts, but do they have the necessary skills when they live life on their own? The question is, how can we make sure we are setting up our teens for success as they grow older?

 Life skills are “the abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life”, according to the World Health Organization. This term also directly overlaps in meaning with terms like soft skills and 21st century skills. Having life skills has a lot of benefits for personal and career development which allow individuals to make a positive impact in their communities, and even society at large. 

In our rapidly evolving world, young people today inevitably face not only challenges in everyday life, but also those that come with shifting global economies, modern technological advancements, as well as social and cultural issues. They need life skills in order to cope with stress and frustration, solve problems, make good decisions, and maintain positive relationships and collaboration with others. 

Developing life skills takes up a significant part in an individual’s education in order to function optimally, overcome daily challenges, and thrive in the succeeding stages of life. There is no definite set of life skills, as it encompasses a wide range of knowledge and abilities, but we have put together a helpful list of categories to help you empower your learner. Take a look at these essential life skills for teens and what we are doing to support you through this process: 

  1. Personal Care and Development Skills

    Taking care of one’s self is one of the most basic skills we need for survival. Teens need self-awareness and skills that help maintain their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. This includes having good habits for personal health and grooming as well as improving their personality and the way they carry themselves. 

Some tips to help teens with personal care and development:

  • Encourage them to embrace a healthy lifestyle which includes exercise that’s fit for them, a proper diet, and good hygiene. Have fun doing exercises in these health classes: Stretch and Strength and Yoga in a Yurt

  • Help them develop good dress sense so that they make good choices about what to wear in situations like job interviews.

  • Have them learn about their own physical condition, over-the-counter medications, and basic first aid to prepare for emergencies.

  • Allow them to practice self-regulation and management by letting them set their own goals, manage their time, and organize their things.

  • Guide them through how to process their emotions and how to cope with stress and the pressures they need to face.

  • Support their personal or recreational interests that help them develop their confidence, talents and abilities like sports and the arts. 

  1. Financial Literacy Skills

    According to LINCS (The Literacy Information and Communication System), financial literacy skills, “means having the confidence, knowledge, and skills needed to make financial decisions that promote financial self-sufficiency, stability, and well-being.” It is one of the most important skill sets that teens will learn to appreciate more especially when they become adults. Financial discipline, budgeting, and a knowledge on investing will help them go a long way when they are already earning on their own. 

Some tips to help them develop financial literacy and management skills:

  • Have them make a budget and stick to it.

  • Help them open a bank account, use a debit card to make purchases, do online banking, and write a check.

  • Involve them in important money talks so they learn how to make wise financial decisions. Some of the things you may need to talk about include the risks of private student loans, debts, and how to guard against identity theft, online phishing, and other scams. 

  • Have teens learn about saving, investing, and maintaining financial records through practical examples.

  • We offer a fun and engaging way to gain some foundational skills in The Game of Life: Financial Literacy for Teens.

  1. Home skills

    How to manage a home is another important skill that teens need to learn, as they transition into independent living. Managing a home involves many duties and activities like cooking, buying groceries, cleaning, doing the laundry, and managing utilities. 

Some tips to help teens develop domestic skills:

  • Allow them to practice responsibility through assigning different household tasks at a given time like doing the laundry, cleaning their room and bathroom, taking out the trash, etc. 

  • Let them prepare a healthy meal for the family and follow a recipe. Knowing what ingredients to buy and what kitchen tools and equipment to use are helpful skills in food preparation. Learn about Food Science in Food from Start to Finish.

  • Have them learn how to buy groceries, read nutrition labels, and the right way to store different food products. Learn how to read nutrition labels and pick produce in Navigating the Grocery Store

  • Provide them opportunities to help out in managing utilities like paying a bill or changing a light bulb.  

  1. Social and Communication Skills

    Communication is one of the four C’s in 21st century learning and one of the most critical skills learners need to develop to maintain positive relationships and succeed in their professional life. It takes great skills to be a very effective communicator. Teens need to learn how to clearly and respectfully express their ideas, questions, and solutions verbally and in writing. Good communication skills are also fundamental to leadership and collaborating with other people. 

Some ideas on how to help teens improve social and communication skills:

  • Show the importance of active listening and have them practice this in conversations. 

  • Talk about the importance of understanding different perspectives of people and having empathy.

  • Have them practice writing and expressing themselves in different written forms – formal letters, emails, etc. Help them improve their  writing skills with Journalist for a Month and English Literature and Creative Writing

We hope these tips we have outlined will help you incorporate life skills development in your home learning journey. 

Check out more classes for teens focused on developing important life skills. We’d love to be a part of your teen’s education and setting them up for life success. 

Northern Lights Academy Team