Before they Leave Home

What to teach your kids.

It would be great if by 18 every young person could do the following:


Social skills

  • Confrontation: Living in a building full of strangers is difficult even for the confident. Standing up for yourself effectively and gracefully will be key in maneuvering living with a college roommate.
  • Avoid gossip. Being honest, straightforward and compassionate will win you real friends and keep you out of drama!
  • Alcohol safety. Have fun, but be safe and drink responsibly. Know the dangers of binge drinking and drinking to get drunk.

Domestic skills

  • Cook (don't just open and pour!) a traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • How to use a washer and dryer
  • How to use a clothes iron

  • Throw and catch balls of all sizes without breaking your fingers.
  • Swim half a mile, tread water for half an hour and float for an hour.
  • Ride a bike with confidence.

Handyman Skills

  • Hang a picture straight without making extra holes in the wall.
  • Paint neatly, including cleaning up the mess.
  • Know which tools perform what functions and how to use them around the house.

Practical Skills

  • Type well with both hands.
  • Set up your own computer system, including changing ink cartridges.
  • Basic car maintenance, including changing a flat tire!

Organizational skills

  • Create a budget. Note: It takes longer to earn money than to spend it.
  • Balance a checkbook manually, even if you bank online.
  • Say NO to those pesky credit card offers!
  • Maintain an address book and a personal appointment calendar.