A quick guide to helping your teen master basic life skills

(BPT) – Parenthood is made up of long days and short years. Eventually, as your kids get closer to adult-sized, it hits you how much they’ve changed … and how quickly the years of their childhood flew by.

Then, something else hits you. It won’t be long before the kid will be living on their own. If that’s a scary thought, you’re not the first parent to wonder how they’ll ever manage to do stuff like pay bills, do laundry and troubleshoot car noises.

Now’s a good time to check in on how your teen is coming along in the life skills department. So, Mom and Dad, here’s a short list of questions you need to ask yourself, along with some ideas on how to get them up to speed.

Can your teen balance a checkbook?

Few people graduate high school as financially literate – and perhaps you were one of them! The main thing is helping teens understand how checking, savings and credit cards work, and how they can avoid financial pitfalls with good budgeting and planning. For a low-stakes real-world practice run, let them plan an entire family activity from start to finish while keeping costs under control.

Can your teen plan and cook a meal?

What kid didn’t daydream about growing up one day and ordering pizza and hamburgers for every meal of the week? That high volume of takeout, though, will quickly drain a bank account, not to mention expand a waistline. Help them get comfortable in the kitchen and show them how to make easy meals they love to eat. Tacos and pasta make great entrees for beginning chefs. Along with that, show them how to plan and shop for the weekly meals, and enlist their help in finding the best deals at the grocery store.

Does your teen know basic car care?

Those who don’t understand how to take care of a car are doomed to pay big money at the mechanic. A great place to begin is with the tires. Young drivers need to know how to make sure these are properly inflated and when to recognize the signs of excessive wear. For a helpful checklist, Yokohama Tires’ “Tires 101” guide has all the information and visuals you need to start the one-on-one seminar with your teen.

Can your teen take care of their living space?

Whether they own or rent, knowing tenets of maintenance can extend the life of structures, appliances and systems. The next time you take care of something in the house, treat your teen like an apprentice. Show them things like changing the furnace filter, purging the hot water heater and caulking cracks and gaps in the foundation.

Can your teen fix a small leak?

Plumbers make excellent money, and man, does that ever show up in the plumbing invoice. But learning a few basic home plumbing skills to fix smaller issues now can save lots of dough throughout one’s life. (Plus, apartment landlords are not always reliable about getting to these pesky problems.) Now’s a good time to teach them how to clean clogged drains, fix a leaky faucet and troubleshoot a running toilet.

Can your teen maintain their car through all seasons?

When cold/rainy/snowy weather hits, having the right tire is super important. Tires are the only part of a vehicle that actually touches the road and they affect everything from braking and steering to comfort and handling. Teach your teen about the different types of tires, especially the all-season variety. Discover how Yokohama Tires can prepare any driver to maneuver through all-season weather conditions.

If you show your teen the ways of making it in the world now, they’ll feel confident later about being on their own, plus they’ll save a lot of trouble and expense from making rookie mistakes. Even better, you’ll know you’ve reached the ultimate goal of parenthood: Helping them reach independence.

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