How is it possible that my toddler is in her senior year now? With parenting, there are so many things to do to keep the family running smoothly. We’re suddenly writing a check for their graduation ring. Prior to kids, I had it all mapped out in my mind that I was going to teach them to cook, wash clothes, and other skills they needed to know before they were on their own. And then life happened.
This time is such an adjustment to most kids as they transition from being a “kid” to a young adult. There are so many new things being thrown at them at once, that it is sometimes hard for them to digest it all. They also want to be independent so they may be somewhat reluctant to ask their parents. There is a great deal of knowledge that my kids have over me with the modern age of electronics, but it is part of our responsibility to equip them with other tools that they need in the world.
It is not difficult to understand the concept of putting the clothes in the washer and some detergent, but it is the little details that make a difference. There are so many different types of detergent and if they have sensitive skin, do they know which one to buy? How much do you use? Should you wash everything together or separately? Some clothes could be dry cleaning only. Have we shown them where to read the labels of the clothes? Do they know they should not wash that brand new red shirt with the rest of the clothes for a few times?
When the kids graduate from high school, whether they move away to college or move out and get a job, one thing is for sure: they will find something to eat even if they cannot cook. Sandwiches and cereals are always quick, easy, and cheap meals. But they will soon tire of the same things.
They will probably be able to follow the directions on boxed macaroni and cheese, but do they know how to cook their favorite meals that they had at home, especially the ones where there is no recipe written down? My recommendation is write those recipes down, and also to let them cook them while they are still at home. It will help them learn and give you break cooking for a night or two. You’ll just to just be on standby for that meal.
One of my kids actually asked for recipes for Christmas one year. It took a while to get them on paper, but I also typed them up in a template, printed on cardstock, and filed in a cute recipe book. This took a great deal of time, but was very rewarding to give it to them for Christmas.
They know how much cash to get back if they give the cashier $10.00 and the purchase was $6.00, but do they know how to manage their money? Managing money is difficult for many of us as adults too. If their paycheck is net pay of $200, do they know to keep some aside for rent and utilities that are due each month or to put some in savings to build an emergency fund?
We also need to teach them how to reconcile their bank statements. I recommend going as a family to a financial class like Dave Ramsey. We went as a family and my kids found this very informative.
At first glance, it seems like there is nothing much to finding a roommate to share an apartment with, but there is much more to leasing. By signing a lease, there is a financial commitment that goes with that. There are many variations of lease terms so be sure to read it before signing anything. If everyone signs together and a roommate cannot pay their share of the rent, the other roommates may have to come up with the money to stay in good standing with the lease.
There are written notices that need to be given so many days in advance based on the terms, so be aware of that when giving notice as appropriate. When you move in, if you see something broken, be sure to document that in writing with pictures and notify management. Keep a folder with this information for yourself as well.
Taxes, deductions, and benefits
When kids get their first job, there may be decisions they need to make regarding retirement benefits, medical insurance and the like. Are they being hired as an employee where taxes will be taken out of their check, or are they contractors where they are responsible for paying their own taxes? They need to understand what these differences are so that they can be prepared to set money aside as appropriate. We need to let them know how important it is to start when they are young, saving for retirement.
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Our job as parents is to prepare our kids to fly and follow their dreams. While it seems like we have plenty of time to teach them these things, time goes by so quickly. We start teaching our kids when they are young to share, use their manners, and show respect for others. These are skills that they need as well, but we have to wait until they are older to teach how to do laundry, cook, do finances, and learn about leases, taxes, deductions, and various other benefits. So, by working with them on these skills, they will be more equipped to go out into the world as a young adult.