Skills outside-of-school to teach your teenager

11 December 2020

Now is the right time!

It’s the right time because schools are closed, your teenagers are at home/on holiday with you,
everyone has spare time and socialising might even be limited
depending on lockdown rules.

It’s the right time to teach your teenager skills outside-of-school because it is vital for young people to learn more than just academically.


  • Teenagers need to learn independence
  • Outside-of-school skills equip them for life
  • Teenagers need to learn to look after themselves as that is where they are heading
Teenagers have to learn to face the world

Allow your teenager to chill for a few days and then embark on a skills programme from time to time.

Here are 5 outside-of-school/life skills to consider:

Learn to cook

Cooking is fun, everyone in the family can do this together, it helps to inculcate a healthy lifestyle, it’s a social event and it saves money.

Assign a course (starter, main, dessert, snack, mocktail) to different members of the family, choose a country or cuisine as a theme for the meal of the day or dare someone to attempt a recipe they have never tried before.

How to manage money

There is no better time than now… as holiday expenses like going out for drinks, using Uber or buying a takeaway add up quickly.

Learning to be responsible with money is a most valuable life skill.

Teach your teenager to manage their own pocket/holiday money by being a role model, encouraging them to take on a holiday job, paying them for chores (but not all chores) and helping them to set goals as far as spending and saving within a set period go.

The basics of touch typing

No, we are not talking about being tech-savvy here.

A recent conversation with a student brought up the following: Typing a project presented no problem but having to type an exam within a limited time span proved to be far more difficult as he could not touch type.

Touch typing is typing using all your fingers without looking at the keys.

There are loads of free websites to teach one to touch type or to type faster. It doesn’t take long to learn either.

Read for fun

Encourage your teenager to read for fun.

A lesser known skill is that of learning to guide your own reading.

This leads to learning to discuss the ideas, interesting facts or inspirational thoughts that were discovered whilst reading.

Instil organisational and emotional skills

As an adult – or adult-to-be – you have to manage your own time. This entails being able to create realistic schedules that allow for work/study and for free time. As far as the latter goes balance is very important.

Making effective decisions is another skill that allows teenagers to prepare for independence.

In order to make effective decisions you need to be able to identify, then solve problems. Prioritise and compromise are key words. Setting goals are essential.


Emotional maturity takes time to develop. The mantra is:
stay calm, listen and think things through.

Brainstorm possible outcomes. It also helps to write a list of pros and cons if you are unsure of what your decision should be. Trust your instinct.

Never forget that there are
consequences for everything
in life.

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