Teenagers. They are capable. More capable than you think. Here are 10 things they need to know before they go to college. In my opinion? They should know these by the 8th grade. But that’s me. I home schooled 4 kids for about 9 years while running a full time business. If you think I could juggle it all on my own you are CRAZY. Besides, isn’t this what you have kids for?
1. Laundry. This is a no brainer. My kids have been doing their own laundry since they were 10 years old. That doesn’t mean I don’t help. That doesn’t mean I don’t fill in. But one needs to learn that clothing does not get thrown on the floor and then magically appear clean and folded on ones bed. I mean seriously mom…you have better things to do? Like HGTV for example! 🙂
2. How to load a dishwasher. The sink is NOT a holding place. It is for rinsing. It is for seeing empty. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. So when food is consumed. Dishes are rinsed and go in the dishwasher. If said dishwasher is clean and full…then you best not let me see you even rest that dish in the sink…empty the dishwasher. Pretty simple. And…I will hunt you down.
3. How to write AND address a thank you note. For the love of all things penmanship…teach your kids legible handwriting and how to address an envelope and WHERE to put a stamp. You might think this is common knowledge. It is not. And…the value of a handwritten thank you note is huge. Do it.
4. How to vacuum. Just turning on a vacuum does not count. Rubbing it back and forth along the floor does not count. It is systematic. It takes longer than 30 seconds. The carpet actual likes it…mom does too.
5. That brings me to chores. Saturday morning. Clean your bedroom. Meaning…stuff off the floor, surfaces dusted, floor vacuumed. It may not be perfect. But a weekly update makes sure things do not get out of hand. We have all seen THOSE dorm rooms. Ugh. AND…clean your bathroom. Don’t expect to hand them cleaning spray and have them get it. Show them. How to clean a toilet. How to clean a mirror. How to clean a sink. Again…our kids have been doing this on Saturdays since they were wee ones. You have plans for the day? Great. Chores first. Their college roommate will thank you.
6. Money. Teach them how to use a check book. That a debit card is actually money. How to transfer money from checking to savings. How to check their bank statement. How to really use cash. Money…does not grow on trees…no really it doesn’t. They need to know…value…and understand that.
7. How to use public transportation. Finding bus schedules. Hailing a cab. Maneuvering through an airport. We tend to do everything FOR them. Next time you are on a trip, let them do the figuring out. When ATL and I went to DC last summer I made her figure out the Metro. Could I have done it a million times faster? Totally. But what if she needs to travel on her own. Thank goodness for cell phones.
8. Restaurant skills. How to order. How to ask questions. Which forks to use. How to wait until other people are served. How to respectfully treat a server. And most importantly how to tip…and that you do tip. Oh yes, and my favorite…how to chew with your mouth closed. I mean is that too much to ask? Gross.
9. Cooking skills. I am not talking boiling water. I am talking how to actually follow a recipe. How to make a meal. Bake a dessert. Time a dinner. Get those kids in the kitchen and show them how to use it. Make cookies. Grill chicken. Make pasta..and sauce. Fry eggs. Make chicken salad. Slice vegetables and fruit. Brown ground beef. Crush garlic. SHOW them. The more they know…the better off they will be. Good grief, buy your kid a cookbook and have them use it. At the very least teach them to search out recipes online and read the reviews! I am planning on eating many meals at my children’s homes and I plan on them being delicious!
10. Teach them to be grateful. For the big things. For the little things. To be appreciative of tiny acts of service. And then to acknowledge it. Never it expect. Never assume. But true gratefulness.
And then send them off. Give them the basics. They won’t remember it all. Not now. But someday…someday they will call on it.
Man-child is ready to go. We are ready FOR him to go. And he is prepared. I have no doubt that he will do VERY well. Will he stumble and fail? Probably. But isn’t that what college is for? At least I know I have tried to do my job well. AND that my refrigerator will stay full for a lot longer a few weeks from now!