We all want to equip our teens for the real world before they move out. Here are a few skills you should teach your teen to prepare them for life on their own.

As parents, our goal is to raise young adults who can handle everything life throws at them. That means teaching them a sense of self-worth, how to handle disappointment, and how to follow their dreams.

Of course, not all parenting is about the kind of ideals that would fit on the cover of a self-help book. Parenting is also about making sure your kids know how to survive in the day-to-day. That means teaching your teens all the practical home and life skills we used to learn in home ec.

How To Clean

This one may seem obvious to the point of being insulting to one’s intelligence. However, sometimes we think our kids know how to clean just because we’ve been shouting things like “Hey, clean your room” and “This kitchen is a mess” for the last 15 years. Often, our kids’ slovenliness isn’t just because of laziness. They may genuinely not know how to perform the tasks necessary for it.

Here’s a checklist of cleaning skills that teens often don’t know:

  • Laundry
  • Cleaning a toilet
  • Cleaning a shower
  • Deep cleaning carpets
  • Cleaning a stovetop and microwave
  • Organizing and purging belongings

As we said, these skills can seem so straightforward that it’s easy to scoff at those who don’t know them. If you feel you need to teach your kids cleaning skills, try to avoid sounding patronizing or saying things like, “You ought to know how to do this already.”


It’s hard to go from asking for pocket change to having your own income and putting away for bills, savings, and retirement. Many schools have a general economics class, but the skills they teach can seem overly conceptual. Let’s face it—we can’t expect them to retain every little thing.

As a parent, it’s a good idea to set aside time to talk about how to set up a budget. This should include having a candid discussion about the price of things like groceries and living expenses. Ask kids what their dream lifestyle is and show them how to achieve it.

Basic Home Improvement

With any luck, one day, your kid will have a home of their own. You don’t want them to feel trapped or helpless if anything goes wrong. While they can always call in a professional, it’s helpful to teach teens a few basic home skills such as:

  • How to use tools properly
  • Basic sewing skills
  • How to mow the lawn
  • Strategies for pulling weeds
  • How to paint a room

Along with how to use basic home improvement tools, you should teach them the nuances between different products. For example, knowing the difference between oil-based and water-based paint and the difference between different tools will help save your teen a lot of frustration later on. Showing them which cleaning products to use in specific scenarios can also prevent them from damaging their property.

These can seem like trivial things. However, when you equip your teen with the basic skills they need, you’re also teaching them self-efficacy and showing them that they can handle whatever life throws their way.