Holiday Projects to Boost Teen Life Skills

life skillsKids are typically so wrapped up in school work, college apps, extracurriculars and their tech that parents often relieve them of home responsibilities to avoid schedule overload.

But when they leave for college, many kids find that they didn’t acquire the life skills they need to be self-sufficient. Why not use the holidays as a springboard for working on some of those life skills that could use a little honing? Here are six suggestions for holiday-related projects kids can tackle:

  1. Culinary Skills: Lots of kids love to watch cooking shows, yet they don’t know their way around a kitchen. Ask your teen to cook a side dish for the family feast – selecting a healthful recipe, converting it to the proper number of servings, shopping for the ingredients and preparing it.
  2. Domestic Skills: “What’s that thing hanging in the closet, mom?” “Why, it’s an iron!” Amazing how many girls who know their way around a flat iron but aren’t so good with an actual iron. Boys especially are apt to need to know this skill for their dress shirts – practicing on the holiday table cloth or napkins is a great way to learn the technique.
  3. Social Skills: The texting generation often needs a lesson in the social side of life. Put your teen in charge of phoning the family to invite them to dinner and relaying all the pertinent details. Bonus points for conversation starters to engage the older generations at the table.
  4. Etiquette Skills: Knowing how to properly set a table will never go out of style. Give your teen some silverware savvy by showing them how to start on the outside and work their way in when faced with multiple pieces. Handy tip? Knife has five letters and goes on the r-i-g-h-t. The four-letter fork goes on the l-e-f-t.
  5. Budgeting Skills: The holidays are the ideal time to teach them the skill of budgeting. Work with them on making a gift list and checking it twice – have them compare how much money they estimated and how much the items actually cost. Add in gift wrap and shipping to be extra realistic.
  6. Financial Skills: Life is expensive and kids won’t know that until they see the bills. Car insurance, health insurance, utilities, Netflix, data…most kids don’t realize that those bills can take a big bite out of a bank account. Even if you usually use auto-pay, show them how to reconcile a bank statement with the money that’s going out.

Many times kids don’t know what they don’t know until it’s too late! While you’ll always be a phone call away, take advantage of the time you have left to equip them with the life skills that make life smoother.


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