Six Life Skills to Teach Before Your Kids Leave Home
Leaving Home: Is He Prepared?
Judah isn’t our first child to leave home. In fact, Judah is our sixth child to move out of the house. But his move has been different than the others and feels more daunting somehow. Keziah, Ezra, and Boaz all went to Job Corps and then moved on to jobs and living independently. Adalia and Tilly both married men who were had already launched themselves and were living on their own.
In some ways, Judah moving out feels like a new first to us.
It feels like a test of our parenting. Did we do enough? Did we miss anything? Is he prepared?
Shopping to equip Judah’s first apartment.
Judah finds his dream dishes at Goodwill!
Preparing Your Kids for Adulthood: Have I Done Enough?
Judah, like Adalia and Tilly, graduated from high school with his Associate of Arts degree. He was then our first child to move on to a four-year university. He attended Central Washington University for two years, graduated with honors (at age 19!), and then moved back home to work while he paid off his student loans.
He was hired by the State Patrol as a dispatcher just months after graduating, paid off his student loans in seven months, and then continued to live at home while he saved up money for a car. His first car. At age 20.
Then, in a span of less than two weeks, he bought his first car and moved into his first apartment. Judah is fully launched and living the dream of working full time, paying his own bills, and navigating adult life.
And as a mom, that feels a little bit nerve-wracking. We have prepared him, encouraged him, and guided him. Now?
It’s on Judah.
Judah spent his 16th birthday in Zambia…and said it was the best birthday of his life.
Don’t Shelter Your Kids. Instead, Teach Them Life Skills for Adulting
Despite being homeschooled until beginning community college at age 16, he wasn’t sheltered. By the time he started he had been to Zambia to help build a bridge, Guatemala to work on an orphanage, had been on a 50-mile hike with Boy Scouts and canoed the Bowron Lake circuit.
He attended a Big Bad Public University and managed to graduate with his faith intact.
I asked him recently how prepared he felt to live on his own (and I’ll admit, I was a little bit nervous to hear his answer) he said:
“Well prepared. I’m getting a couple things for a stir-fry. Meal wise I feel prepared etc. I made a budget and everything but if we’d ever watched Dave Ramsey that might have helped.”
So there you go, the honest truth straight from the mouth of a twenty-year-old who had no idea I was going to put it on the blog.
Here Are Six Essential Life Skills to Teach Your Kids Before They Leave Home
Your Kids Need to Know How to Work Hard
Start teaching them at a young age. Give them real work to do. Trust them. Encourage them. Teach them to do hard things.
Your Kids Need to Know How to Budget Money
Rachel Cruz has great advice on her website for teaching kids about money. I would add that being open about your own financial situation is great for kids.
Your Kids Need to Know How to Cook
Start by letting your kids in the kitchen when they are little. Let them slice the olives and tear the lettuce for salad. Have them wash the dishes. Bake cookies together and have them help with meal prep. They will thank you later.
Your Kids Need to Know How to Take Responsibility for Their Actions
One of the most important parts of teaching your kids to take responsibility for their actions is letting them fail.
Your Kids Need to Know How to Make Appointments
I didn’t make a single appointment for myself until after I left home. Starting at 15 or 16 I have my kids make their own appointments (doctor, dentist, etc). I guide them and coach them, but have them make the actual calls. This is easy to do and it one less thing they will need to master after they leave.
Your Kids Need to Know How to Do Laundry
Toddlers can help get the laundry out of the dryer. Preschoolers can fold washcloths. School-aged kids can fold and put their own laundry away and learn to run the machines. Teach your kids this skill and it is one less thing they need to master as adults.
Your Kids Need to Know Basic Housekeeping
Make sure your kids can clean a kitchen, scrub the toilet, and mow a law. Bonus? Free labor as your children are growing up.
What other life skills do you think are essential before leaving home?