Launching your Child into Adulthood

Launching your Child into Adulthood

      As we watch our teenagers grow into adults, we must ask ourselves if we have equipped them with the skills they need to be successful in this world. Basic life skills are very important but can be overlooked in a teenager’s education. Our education system largely depends on parents to teach critical life skills. As a child’s independent life approaches, space and freedom become even more important, as does the need for essential life skills for adults.  

Here is a list of 10 basic life skills all teens should be able to tackle before they leave home: 
    • How to do laundry: 
      • It seems pretty basic, but many kids struggle with understanding and using laundry machines from start to finish. This is an easy skill to teach, but be understanding. Start with the basics of sorting colors and reading labels, and move on to showing them how to use the machines.  
    • How to make a doctors/dentist/general appointment: 
      • 18-year-old young adults are in charge of their healthcare, so this skill will be carried with them all through life. Make sure your young adult knows how to use the technology provided to them to make an appointment. They should know how to talk on the phone with the office, their medical history, allergies, and how to fill out medical forms. Healthcare is so important for young adults. Make sure they know the importance of staying on top of their physical and mental health needs. 
    • How to use public transportation: 
      • Some kids already have knowledge of this because they are used to using public transportation. For young adults that do not know, make sure you give them those basic steps as public transportation is the a good way of travel. 
    • How to write, address, and mail a letter: 
      • With email and social media, many kids consider letters to be the things of dinosaurs. With that said, the mail is still the main form of communication for many entities, including the federal government and banks. Teach them that they can find stamps at their local post office, grocery store, or even order them online.  Knowing how to receive and send mail is an integral skill that young adults must learn. 
    • How to vote: 
      • Now that your child is over the age of 18, it is their civic responsibility to vote in both local and national elections. The first step is to have your child register. Help them locate their voting site and emphasize the importance of their vote. 
      • Click here to register to vote in Maryland
    • How to apply for a job:  
      • Take this skill point by point, addressing tools and steps for finding a job first. You can help develop a resume that will prepare them for job applications. If they have never filled out an application before, look online for examples and practice filling in the blanks with them. Take time to practice interview skills like handshakes, what to wear and how to answer questions appropriately. This will make them more confident when the time comes. 
    • How to access an ID: 
      • Make sure your young adult knows how to go to their local DMV to get their driver’s license if they completed the state requirements, or a valid state identification card.
    • How to pay bills: 
      • Whether it is a tuition bill or cell phone bill, if your young adult is financially responsible for paying, make sure they know how to log on to payment portals, set up auto-pay, or schedule reminders for when bills are due.  
    • How to change a tire:
      • If your child is driving, they should know the basics of how to change a tire. Make sure you point out where in the car you can find the tools and the spare tire. It is also important for your child to know how to pull over the car in a safe location. 
      • Here is a video to help.
    • How to practice time management: 
      • Based on how your child learns and thinks, this will be different for everyone. Start by modeling good time management habits in your own life. Teach your children to prioritize their tasks to use their time responsibly. Help them differentiate between what is important and what is urgent. 


Navigating parenting today can be hard, but we are here to support you! If you have questions about parenting in general, call our 24/7 Parenting HelpLine: 1-800-243-7337.  

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