Essential Life Skills for 16-Year-Olds

September 17, 2019
Group of teens sitting outside together

Help your teen tackle these need-to-know tasks.

“The days are long, but the years are short” is an oft-repeated phrase that rings especially true for parents of 16-year-olds. It may feel like just yesterday you were rocking your “little ones” to sleep, but the reality is they will soon be venturing out on their own. Whether your teen is prepping for college or planning some other adventure, having the following skills will help them launch independent lives.

Money Management

Digital wallets like Venmo make it easy to transfer funds, but it’s still important to understand the basics of traditional banking. If they don’t already have one, now’s a good time for your teen to open their own account. (Check with your financial institution to see which one is best for minors and whether it must be held jointly with a parent or guardian.) Introduce the concept of budgeting and instruct them on financial fundamentals like making deposits and withdrawing funds. Many banks offer age-appropriate one-on-one or group financial education classes. See if yours has one that is right for your teenager.

Smart Shopping Skills

Coupons, sales and special offers may not mean much now, but once your child is on a typical young adult’s budget it will help to have a seasoned set of smart shopping skills. Bring them along on a grocery run and demonstrate how to compare prices and take advantage of other money-saving methods.

Finding and Holding a Part-time Job

Sixteen is the ideal age for an introduction to the working world and part-time jobs are a great place to start. Share smart strategies for finding available openings and let them take it from there. Creating a resume, sticking to an assigned schedule and managing earned income are all important building blocks for future success.

Conversing and Making Connections

Establishing eye contact, offering a firm handshake and making conversation are all everyday talents essential for young adults out on their own. Emphasize the advantages of establishing connections and reinforce the message that digital devices have no place at shared mealtimes and other social settings.

Navigating to and from Unfamiliar Places

These long-time passengers may now be in the driver’s seat, so help instill a sense of direction in your on-the-go teens. Show them how to safely use a GPS and other navigation tools. If available, familiarize them with public transportation in your area.

Your 16-year-old is on the threshold of adulthood but a few years remain to provide them with knowledge they’ll need for a life on their own. Take advantage of this time now to teach them everyday skills that will serve them well in the future.