Basic Life Skills: Introduction

When we think of learning and maturing, we tend to focus on the kinds of things that kids learn in school. Certainly, the academic lessons learned in the classroom help your kids create a better informed and deeper sense of themselves and the world. But there are many important skills that are usually absorbed more or less automatically and intuitively as kids grow up. These are the practical life skills that help a young person do a better job managing their daily life. For young people going off to college, it can be very helpful to make sure that they have a good handle on managing these basic skills. And not having these skills mastered can make the transition to college, and adulthood in general, more stressful.

What kinds of skills are we talking about? Let’s start by thinking about physical health and safety. When kids are younger, they are mostly told when to go to sleep and what to eat (and when). Their basic physical care is left to their parents or guardians. As kids grow older, they usually assume more control of their physical health and personal activities. It is important for kids to get more comfortable managing their sleep times and their food (with input from their family) so they learn how to make sensible decisions about these things. As they mature, kids should take a bigger role in managing their health and health care decisions. They need to also learn to make decisions about how to stay safe and what sorts of situations might expose them to physical risks and dangers and how to manage or avoid them.

As kids mature, their lives become more complicated. School, hobbies, sports, work can all make demands on their time. Kids also need to learn to manage time and handle priorities. These organization skills are very important in helping them manage the demands and expectations of the greater independence and complexity that comes along with college life and adulthood in general.

Kids need to learn to manage their stuff. As smaller children maybe they helped keep their rooms or living space in order but as they become more independent they will need to keep track of and manage their belongings, their clothes (probably including doing their laundry-especially if living away from home), their money, and their electronics.

Parents can be really helpful by being mindful of how their kids are doing in mastering these basic life skills and in having their kids assume greater responsibility as they get older in handling more of these things on their own. In this section, we will share some ideas about how your kids can get a handle on these skills to help you in guiding them on the path to adulthood. Learn more about basic life skills for your student here.

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