The teenage phase of life brings many changes. It is full of struggle, excitement, challenges, and fear. This shorter period creates a long-term impact on one’s life. Teenagers want to try new things, make their own decisions, take on more responsibilities, working out who they are and what they want from their lives. Being a parent, you need to make sure that your child learns the apt social skills required to interact in society and live independently with zero fear. Many teens become boomerang kids ( kids who move out at their teenage ages and return to their parents' shelter in a year when they are incapable of handling their fear emotionally and financially) because they lack independent living skills.
In this article, you will learn the meaning of independent living skills, the top 10 independent living skills, the best activities for independent living, tips for teens, and many more. Grab a tea/coffee, sit on a cozy sofa and enjoy this informative piece.
What are Independent Living Skills?
IL, i.e., Independent Living Skills, are the fundamental skills an individual uses to do regularly to live an independent and free life. These skills include cooking, grooming, billing, seeking medical attention, buying groceries, eating nutritional food, cleaning, managing money, respecting others, wearing proper clothes, etc. Independent Skills make an individual be a responsible citizen. These skills help build resilience, take positive risks, socialize with people, move around society without any fear and anxiety, and foster a healthy sense of belonging.
Independent Skills enhance the quality of human life.
10 Skills For Independent Living
1. Money management
Money management is an essential aspect of everyday life. Without the knowledge of financial and money management, it is not possible to know how adequately you pay your bills, where you are wasting money, and how to get out of debt. Being a parent, you should make sure your teens understand the importance of utilizing money responsibly. Management helps to do positive investments and increase the standard of living.
Here are some points to tell your kids about money management.
- Teens should know the use of credits and debit cards, open bank accounts, use ATMs, save sufficient money, and plan for their future.
- They should know how to save, where to invest, and spend less money effectively.
- Pay bills without delay.
- Always maintain financial records.
- Do e-shopping carefully as it is going to affect your budget.
- Do not waste money buying unusual and unnecessary things.
- Plan and save for the future.
2. Personal hygiene
To maintain a good social and romantic life, personal hygiene plays an important role. These include brushing teeth twice a day, taking baths, maintaining facial hygiene, etc. Personal hygiene helps you avoid situations wherein people are disgusted by your presence because of your unhygienic behavior and foul smell. It allows you to be confident and attractive wherever you go. You will not fall sick. Hence, your attendance in your college or office will be 100%. Teach your teens to maintain their personal hygiene.
Here are some points to tell your kids about personal hygiene:
- Bath daily.
- Maintain oral hygiene.
- Go for manicures and pedicures to clean your hands and legs.
- Girls should stay clean during their periods, they should use clean, sanitary napkins.
- Wash your face twice a day.
- Use a clean towel to dry your body, wear clean undergarments and dry clothes.
- Go to the clinic every three months for body and dental checkups.
3. Emotional maturity
Coping and self-management skills will allow teens and young adults to see and understand both parts of the scenario. Teach your kids to cope with loneliness and be away from loved ones before living independently. If they do not learn to deal with the changes, it could create difficulty and struggle in their life.
Here are some points to tell your kids regarding emotional maturity:
- Meditate every morning before starting the day.
- Try to avoid impulsive decisions.
- First, think, then react to the particular situation. Do not jump directly.
- Do not let your failure ruin your present.
- No emotion is bad or good but make sure you don’t dwell on the particular feeling.
- Do physical activities and listen to music to deal with emotions.
- Stay calm and relaxed.
- Spirituality can also be one option to cope with emotional overflow.
4. Personal Safety
When your teenage kid starts to live independently, they should know how to stay safe. It is one of the crucial independent living skills that every teenager and young adult should know. As a parent, make sure your kids are appropriately guided for their safety before living independently alone.
Here are some points to tell your kids about personal safety:
- Follow safety rules, avoid secluded parking lots and deserted roads.
- Drive in the right lane.
- Always carry an extra cash amount for an emergency.
- Always try to avoid traveling with strangers when you are alone.
- Don’t panic. Think mindfully.
- Suppose your car or motorcycle breaks down at night, do not hesitate to call for help.
- Try to avoid night outings.
- When you are working online, always avoid unusual and unknown websites.
5. Time management
Time is precious. If wasted, do not return. So, always try to manage and utilize it. We all have 24 hours in a day, and how we use it tells us what we will achieve. Each individual should develop time management skills to be a better and more responsible citizen.
Here are some points to tell your kids about time management:
- Every night, plan for the next day's schedule.
- Be punctual and don’t breach time.
- Organize a planner or routine to make sure your work gets completed on time.
- Identify what essential tasks need to be done urgently.
- Set a goal, and it’s time.
- Avoid wasting time playing games or watching movies on working days.
- Do not procrastinate.
6. Food and cooking skills
Food preparation is one of the essential and primary parts of independent living. People who live alone should know how to cook and what to cook. No person can stay fit and healthy by eating outside, no matter how tasty the food is. One should learn basic cooking skills before living in their parents' houses.
Here are some points to tell your kids about cooking as well as food selection:
- They should know how to use a toaster, coffee maker, microwaves, and dishwasher.
- Identify the ingredients to make food and list grocery shops where these materials are available.
- They should know how to use cutlery and different utensils for making food.
- Tell your children where to store food and for how long.
- Avoid eating unhealthy, highly-refined junk foods.
- Make a decent and healthy meal at home.
- Always wash fruits and vegetables before using.
- Try to intake nutritious food every day.
- Buy fresh vegetables, fruits, and cooking materials.
- Do not forget to read the labels to know if the product is useable or expired.
7. Shopping, dressing, and clothing skills
The teenage phase is complicated as it brings many physical, mental, and emotional changes. When it comes to clothing, they might get influenced by the bad styling statement. Teach your child about dressing sense and clothing skills to prevent them from facing embarrassing moments in their life.
Here are some points to tell your kids about dressing and clothing skills:
- Select outfits according to the occasion. For example, in the office, wear formal and classic suits, whereas during the party, wear casual clothes, etc.
- Choose properly fitted clothes that are not too loose or too tight.
- Always wear washed and ironed clothes.
- Do not forget your laundry routine.
- Pack your suitcase gently. Don’t overload it.
- Keep your clothes and outfits in a cupboard in a proper manner. Do not make it a mess.
- Do not forget to read and understand the fabrics used in your clothes.
8. Social skills and manners
Society and community are a part of our daily life, and we have to accept them. Your manners define how good you are with other people. To make your life smooth and happy, one needs to communicate with and respect each individual in society. Teach your teens and young adults how to behave and maintain healthy relationships with other people.
Here are some points to tell your kids about social skills and manners:
- Teens should develop skills of making friends and maintaining relationships.
- They should learn how to be a host and attend a guest.
- Always value people and relationships in your lives.
- Respect others' views regardless of what they think and believe about the situation or people.
- Join clubs and groups to interact with others.
- If you have made a mistake, accept it. This will help you become a trustworthy person.
- Do not hesitate to say sorry or thank you.
- Be true to yourself and others.
- They should develop negotiation skills.
- Understand and acknowledge people's suffering and empathize with them.
- Be a good listener.
- Ask for help when needed.
9. Employability Skills
After graduating, teenagers step forward in the world of employability. It is not a school and a college where one gets spoon-fed. It is a place where one needs to learn and develop skills to interact with people professionally and mindfully. Teach your kids some essential qualities and encourage and help them develop some of those skills.
Here are some points to tell your kids about employability skills:
- Develop skills to think and analyze.
- Develop and increase knowledge about the IT world, i.e., the technology and applications.
- Learn working place ethics and integrity.
- Must develop the ability to learn new skills and adapt to the work environment.
- Teach your child to communicate and keep his point of view whenever required.
- They must have the ability to identify their weaknesses and work on them.
- Be an open-minded person.
10. Decision making
Every day brings something new and unpredictable. With this comes the point where we need to make certain decisions for our well-being. It can be about what to cook, what to speak to, what to dress, whom to talk to, what career to choose or why to marry the following person. Teach your young adults and teens to make their decisions calmly. They should not rush for anything.
Here are some points to tell your teen kids about decision making:
- Think twice before concluding.
- Let them choose and decide what is correct for them.
- Find the pros and cons of the particular situation, then act upon it.
- Make a list of the options that can be done, evaluate, and decide accordingly.
- Teach them that with each decision comes unknown consequences. Do not run away from it. Take responsibility and face the music.
Best Activities For Independent Living
Outdoor and sports games
Games are one of the effective ways where teenagers can learn to find fun and build a team. These activities will help them reduce their fear of being surrounded by different people. Games help teenagers to observe and explore their intelligence. It also helps in building confidence and leadership quality. Sporting helps develop and enhance the cooperation skills that can be beneficial in their future. With this healthy activity, teenagers can increase their stamina to work and stay fit forever.
Exercises and Yoga
Physical exercise and yoga significantly impact the human body and mind. It helps us in improving the flexibility of muscles and better digestive functioning. Teenagers should develop the habit of doing yoga and meditation every day. This will help them increase mental clarity, boost self-confidence, and focus on a particular thing. It is a fantastic method to improve well-being and make yourself feel calm and relaxed. It helps in developing self-discipline and self-awareness if practiced honestly and regularly.
Art and Craft Classes
Art and Craft classes increase the imagination and thinking power of an individual. It is also one of the best activities of independent living. Teenagers can learn new skills and develop their personalities by joining these classes. It helps in increasing the creativity and sensibility to acknowledge things. With the help of art classes, teens and young adults can make correct decisions by solving artistic challenges and scenarios. It is a healthy way to express emotions, develop courage and healthy self-esteem. It is also a healthy activity like meditation to deal with stress and anxiety.
Reading and Writing
Reading and writing skills help individuals to learn and increase their knowledge. It is a beneficial skill that every individual should adopt in their life. Teenagers are very enthusiastic about exploring new pieces of information every day. Parents should help their teen kids get surrounded by books and encourage them to write blogs. These activities help them learn languages effectively and understand the world more efficiently. Reading also helps in releasing stress and keeping the mind calm and composed.
Dancing and Music Classes
Dance and Music are a form of art. They are a fantastic stress buster. These art forms help in building life skills, determination and resilience. It develops the habit of being dedicated and committed to goals without thinking about failure or loss. Teenagers should develop habits to learn these art forms and increase their skills. It acts as a therapy to keep the mind and body healthy. One should adopt this option and make their life interesting, enjoyable, and worth living.
Cooking and Baking Classes
Cooking and baking are basic skills that every individual should know. It helps you keep fit and healthy and enables you to develop your creativity hidden inside you. Teenagers who are going to live alone should learn cooking and baking skills to not be dependent on others for it. Even in this pandemic, these skills can be very beneficial to keep you safe.
Gardening and Planting
Gardening and planting are the activities of individual living. It helps in focussing and concentrating. Researchers and studies have proved that Garden helps in reducing depression, stress and promotes productivity. Teens and young adults should adapt these skills to help grow healthy and eat healthily.
Etiquette classes are specially designed to learn manners and behavior. It is a great activity to grow and learn to value, respect, and behave appropriately. Teenagers should take these classes to enhance their personalities and be responsible citizens. Etiquette classes teach you table manners, gestures, body language, and speaking skills. Parents should encourage their kids to join such courses to interact with society without any hesitation or fear.
Independent Living Tips For Teens
- Plan to save money for their future.
- Make telephonic/Phone calls instead of texting.
- Do not waste water and electricity.
- Talk to everyone in a polite manner.
- Respect each individual.
- Focus on the goals.
- Keep distance from drinking and smoking.
- Do not be harsh on animals.
- Be a responsible human being.
- Avoid wastage of food.
- Always stay in touch with friends and family.
- Meditate and exercise to keep your body and mind healthy and calm.
- Don’t rush on things. Take your time.
- Always be punctual.
- Do not panic in emergencies. Take a deep breath and think about what can be done in that scenario.
- Do not be afraid to say “No.”
- Try to cope with your loneliness.
- Always pay your bills( electricity bills, water supply bills, newspaper bills, grocery bills, etc.) on time.
- Stay away from fights.
- Be assertive.
- Value your time.
Independent life skills help teenagers and young adults deal with all the consequences and live a happily, and independent life. Parents should make sure their kids understand their responsibilities and learn life skills such as cooking, cleaning, managing, grooming, maintaining personal hygiene, and many other skills. Help and support your teens to learn those skills to make them independent and good people.