Do you ever wonder if you’ve taught your teens enough to go out into the real world and succeed?

School fills them with facts and numbers, history, math, writing skills and rudimentary sciences. But do our kids have the life skills to function in their day-to-day lives? If you could craft a series of 15 minute “you need to know this to function in the world” lessons, what would they be?

Here are 100 of some of the most common life skills that college students need, but don’t always have. While they are still home we can help them by teaching them to:

  1. Say “no”
  2. Set and manage a goal, with a timetable and milestones
  3. Communicate with and get to know professors and teaching assistants
  4. Manage their time with a calendar
  5. Read a bank statement and balance a checkbook.
  6. Save regularly and make saving money a lifelong habit
  7. Use ride sharing services safely
  8. How and when to make a (polite) phone call rather than texting (some things require a conversation)
  9. Understand, improve, and maintain your credit score
  10. Mail a package
  11. Address an envelope
  12. Figure out postage/buy stamps
  13. Make, change or cancel an appointment
  14. Deposit, withdraw or move funds in an account (either by ATM, phone app or teller)
  15. Find medical care in an emergency and how and when to call an ambulance
  16. Get involved in their community
  17. How compound interest on savings or borrowing works
  18. Memorize your social security, credit card, and student ID numbers
  19. Turn off an overflowing toilet
  20. Borrow and lend money
  21. Manage peer pressure
  22. Walk away from…anything
  23. Utilize a meal plan and not waste money
  24. Do laundry
  25. Shop for groceries (lists, budget, coupons)
  26. Read nutrition labels
  27. Tip
  28. Make a list of favorite recipes
  29. Write a check
  30. Understand the terms when applying for a credit card
  31. Use any form of transportation including navigating and ticketing
  32. Choose a doctor
  33. Fill and refill a prescription
  34. Buy Stamps
  35. Correctly use over the counter medications
  36. Keep scholarships and financial aid
  37. Eat healthy and resist unhealthy food choices
  38. Fill out health insurance forms
  39. Do their taxes
  40. Clean anything and everything
  41. Administer basic first aid
  42. React and what to do in a lockdown
  43. Be prepared for a weather/power emergency
  44. Find and work with a study group
  45. Find academic help/tutors/mentors on a college campus
  46. Cope with feelings of stress or being overwhelmed
  47. Decide between a doctors appointment, urgent care and the ER
  48. Understand medical coverage
  49. Write a resume
  50. Dress for an interview
  51. Complete a LinkedIn profile
  52. Stay in touch with friends and family
  53. Consume alcohol, safely
  54. Get and use birth control
  55. Live with a group of strangers
  56. Plunge a toilet
  57. Stay safe
  58. Get the right amount of sleep and exercise
  59. To know when to seek professional medical or mental health services
  60. Prepare if you are pulled over when driving
  61. Store and prepare food safely
  62. Read and understand a credit card statement
  63. Use basic tools for minor repairs
  64. Create and stick to a budget
  65. Deal with unexpected expenses
  66. Turn off a smoke alarm
  67. Stay healthy, including hand washing
  68. Use a fire extinguisher
  69. Recognize fraud in emails, phishing and phone calls
  70. Write a professional email
  71. Stay current with the local and national news
  72. VOTE, because it matters
  73. Advocate with and ask questions of medical professionals
  74. Apply for jobs, internships and on campus positions
  75. Locate routing and account numbers on checks
  76. Remember and recognize important dates in other’s lives
  77. Completing important forms like HIPAA, FERPA, Power of Attorney
  78. Get renter’s insurance
  79. Deal with a friend who has drunk too much
  80. Deal with a car accident
  81. Be clear about consent and the wishes of a romantic/sexual partner
  82. Be your own strongest advocate in a positive way
  83. Manage if a credit card is lost or stolen
  84. Write and send a handwritten thank-you note
  85. Pay bills on time and set up automatic payment
  86. Understand the expense of owning a pet
  87. Follow an auto maintenance schedule
  88. Understand auto insurance and coverage
  89. Save money on textbooks
  90. Change bed sheets
  91. Manage social media presence
  92. Change a flat tire
  93. Sew a button
  94. Iron
  95. Deal with loneliness
  96. Greet someone respectfully, with eye contact and a handshake
  97. Use jumper cables
  98. Research potential career paths
  99. Put yourself out there and make friends
  100.   Manage subscriber services

But what we really want our teens to know:

But the most important thing we want to teach our teen and we’ll do so if it takes 15 minutes or 15 hours is that we love them unconditionally. They can call us ANYTIME, no question is too stupid and we are available to them 24/7. We made mistakes, lots of them and they will too. They can come to us for advice, counsel, or just an ear and we will not judge them nor will we grow weary of answering their questions. That’s our job.

About Grown & Flown

Lisa Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington, the cofounders of Grown & Flown, are writers, moms, and friends. They created Grown and Flown when each of their youngest kids were in high school and their oldest kids were in college. It has become the #1 site for parents with teens and college students, reaching millions of parents every month. They are also co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults. (Flatiron, 2019). See their book.

In their past incarnations, Mary Dell worked in television and media, and Lisa had a career that included Wall Street, politics, and writing. Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author of three books, including Goldman Sachs: The Culture of Success. Lisa, a California native, graduated from UC San Diego and MIT. Mary Dell is a graduate of the UT Austin and Harvard Business School. Visit the Grown & Flown website.