Teaching your child to be a functional adult is one of your most important tasks as a parent and can seem one of the most difficult. Some things to teach your preteen include how to build a resume and basic job interview skills, how to do chores around the house, and how to cook at least three nutritious meals.
Resume and Job Interview Skills
Most states allow hiring around 16 years old, so starting to teach your child the basics of resumes and interviewing around 12-14 years old will give them a big advantage when it comes time to apply for jobs. It will also help them be more confident when they interview for jobs as an adult since they’ve been practicing for several years at that point. Topics covered could include firm handshakes, eye contact, what types of questions are common in interviews and how to answer them, and how to craft a strong resume. If possible, seek out certified professional resume writers in your area and ask about having your preteen shadow them for a day to get a feel for the proper tone of a resume. Finally, discussing proper work attire can help your child get an early start on a strong career by boosting their confidence when they first need to pick out an outfit for an interview or work.
Basic Household Chores
Your child has likely been doing chores for years, but branching out and teaching them new skills at this age is important. Good examples of things to teach your children to do at this age are ironing, decluttering, and basic household maintenance. It is also important to make sure that they understand what cleaning supplies are meant to do, and what types of things not to combine. For example, being able to figure out what is laundry detergent and what is fabric softener is something that is not intuitive, and knowing not to mix bleach and ammonia can save your child’s life. Ultimately you know your child best, and should customize the chores you teach them to meet their current maturity level.
Preteens are old enough to learn to use a range and to fix meals. Teaching them to cook three or so nutritious meals is important because it ensures your children can feed themselves when they’re living by themselves. Even teaching them to follow a recipe and the difference between chopping and dicing will help ensure they are fed into adulthood. Also consider discussing important cooking basics such as how to cook meat properly, how to safely store food, what knives work best for specific scenarios, and how to choose a good cooking pan. Spices are also a great area of study, as using them can be confusing and it is easy to over-spice.
Another critical set of skills pertains to your car. Sure, your child won’t be driving for a few more years, but it’s better they learn before they get their license. Some skills you should consider teaching them are how to check air pressure and add air to the tires, how to pump fuel and find the cheapest available gas, the purpose of fuel additives during the winter, and how to calculate miles per gallon in a vehicle. Discussing the importance of washing your car, what street signs mean, and vehicle safety is also important.
Overall, preparing your preteen for their adult life is something you should consider starting now. Giving them plenty of time to practice these skills, and may help bolster their self-confidence during a difficult time of life by showing them they are capable of caring for themselves.