17 life skills every parent must teach their kids before they leave home:

My oldest child went to college last year.

My second will leave home in 10 months.

As a parent, you fear that you failed to prepare your kids for life on their own.

Preparing well for anything starts with covering some of the basics.

17 simple life kills your kids must have:
How to do laundry:

When my daughter got to college, she texted me the first weekend.

"Thanks for making us do our own wash."

She had just spent an hour teaching four people how to sort and wash their laundry.

It's hard to succeed in life wearing dirty, smelly clothes.
How to save and spend:

Schools don't teach financial literacy.

You've got to teach your kids how to handle money.

Growing up, I got a small allowance.

10% was put aside for giving.

10% for savings.

The rest was tracked on a simple ledger.

Small habit. Big, lifelong payoff.
How to introduce yourself:

Your kids will spend their lives making first impressions.

Make sure they know (and practice) the basics:

- Firm handshake

- Look the other person in the eye

- Speak their name clearly

- Repeat the other person's name

- Finish with a pleasantry
How to give a presentation:

Basic presentation skills are the foundation of a successful career.

Home is the perfect practice field.

Whether it's verbal book reports or speeches about the merits of dessert,

Help your kids overcome the fear of speaking to a group.
How to care for a vehicle:

My wife was taught nothing about cars growing up.

Which cost me a new engine in our second year of marriage.

At a minimum, kids need to know how to:
- Pump gas
- Change a tire
- Check and add tire pressure
- Interpret the car warning lights
How to complete minor home repairs:

I was taught nothing about home repairs growing up.

Which cost me a flooded kitchen in my third year of marriage.

Most minor home repairs are shamefully simple.

Pick a few to tackle yourself.

And let your kids "help" while you do them.
How to plan a meal:

Fast food is expensive and unhealthy.

Teach your kids how to plan a meal from scratch, make a grocery list, and navigate the store.

A simple way to teach this is to give each child one meal per month to plan.

Then turn it into a fun learning event.
How to resolve relational problems:

The happiness of our lives is deeply tied to the quality of our relationships.

But all relationships run into trouble.

It's your job to teach your kids how to work through them.

First and foremost, teach them how to apologize and forgive.
How to make a complex decision:

Kids must launch into the world confident that they can make tough calls.

Do *you* have that confidence?

If not, start there.

If you do, let them in on your decision-making process.

Then help them apply it in their world.
How to cook:

Kitchens are intimidating places.

With a little effort, it can become a place your kids feel comfortable.

But it requires an invitation and some patience.

As you're cooking, ask them to join in.

Work together, explain what you're doing, and let them help.
How to push through pain:

My dream is to raise kids who are thick-skinned but soft-hearted.

Which is why I'm a huge advocate for team sports.

They force your kids to be uncomfortable.

If they can learn to keep going when things get tough,

They'll become unstoppable.
How to say "no" and "not yet":

Many adult problems arise from our inability to say "no."

We're overcommitted, exhausted, and in debt because of it.

Teaching your kids to delay gratification and say no when necessary is critical.

Teach them to embrace loving limits.
How to small talk:

If I ran the world, there would be a "small talk" class taught in every school.

All relationships - business and personal - start with small talk.

Yet so few people feel comfortable striking up a conversation with a stranger.

Make sure your kids do.
How to organize:

Kids don't come into the world with complex systems for staying organized.

They're wired for chaos and mess.

If you don't correct it, you're doing them a disservice.

Whether it's their closet or notes from class,

Help your kids learn the power of tidiness.
How to navigate transportation:

I have a friend who has a rule for his kids:

Once you hit 13, you're in charge of logistics when we travel.

He teaches them:

- How an airport works
- How to map subway stops
- How to catch a public bus

By 16, they're seasoned travelers.
How to discern what's good for them:

Years ago I wrote my definition of maturity:

Being able to see the difference between what's good for you and what's not,

And consistently choosing the good.

Not everything you desire is beneficial.

Help your kids learn to choose wisely.
How to see the larger story:

I'm a believer in raising kids in a religious faith.

Yes, there are problems with it.

But it teaches them something incredibly powerful:

I'm part of a larger story. Everything is not about me.

It will help them put things in their proper place.
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