Life is full of surprises, but not all are pleasant. If you want to save your children from the nasty surprises in adulthood, you should help them acquire these basic life skills as a youth.

Here are the 11 essential life skills for Kenyan teens to learn:

1. Money or Budgeting Skills

First among the 11 essential life skills for Kenyan teens to learn is… Money. Money may not be the most important thing in life, but it certainly is vital for a comfortable life. Education gives you the knowledge and some skills you need to become employable. But it may not give you the skills to manage your earnings and spending, save money, etc. In simple words, you need to make your teenagers financially literate. The important financial concepts that you can help them learn to include:

  • Make a budget and stick to it. Your children should know when to spend and when to save.
  • Maintain financial records and start a savings account.
  • Assess the basic market value of goods.

2. Cooking or Food Skills

Knowing how to procure food or cook food is one of the primary life skills for teenagers. Teach them the below basic food skills so that they can survive in any part of the world.

3. Dress Sense

Your teenagers will not continue to dress themselves like the way you once dressed them. They may change their style completely owing to external influences, but the chances are that they are likely to get influenced by the wrong people. So, here is how they get one of the everyday skills right.

  • Picking the right-sized clothes, a decent outfit.
  • Choosing the right kind of clothes for the right occasion.
  • Sewing is a skill both men and women can benefit from.
  • Iron a shirt, a trouser or suit.
  • Do the laundry and fold clothes.
  • Read and understand fabric labels.

4. Personal Grooming

Grooming is a skill that children should be taught early on. Personal grooming is important to stay healthy and also have a good social or romantic life.

  • Explain the importance of keeping their bodies clean. It is important that they know how to care for their skin and hair.
  • Boys should know how to shave or maintain facial hair in a hygienic way.
  • Teach girls to stay clean during their periods, proper disposal of sanitary pads, etc.

5. Personal Healthcare and Basic First Aid

Among the critical things that teens should learn, as part of taking care of themselves, is to take care of their health. Important points to remember here are:

  • Knowledge of personal health and over-the-counter medications that can come in handy.
  • Knowing when to go to the doctor.
  • Taking proper care of self, through proper diet and environment, in the case of illnesses like common colds, fever or the flu.
  •  Learn basic first aid skills like how to clean a wound, use bandage, and other first aid in case of medical emergencies

6. Social Skills & Manners

You don’t want your teenager to be singled out because of his or her clumsy manners, do you? Teaching your child skills and manners that he or she must display in a social setting is essential if you want them to have a smooth social life.

  • Explore and pursue hobbies, recreational interests and activities to meet like-minded people.
  • Develop and maintain friendships.
  • Create and nurture personal relationships. Valuing relationships and people in our life is something that only a parent can teach.

7. Organization skills

Lack of organization is one of the factors that lead to poor time management. A poorly organized person is almost always searching for something. Sounds familiar?

Here is what you can do to make your teenager stay better organized.

  • Teach them the simple rule of Kaizen – a place for everything and everything in its place. Help them implement this rule and they will not have to ‘search’ for something the next time.
  • You can help them use an organization tool or system to arrange their books, clothes, and other things.
  • Explain to them that they can avoid making blunders when they are more organized.

8. Communication Skills

Communication may seem more like a business skill. But think about it, won’t your teenager need to communicate in his personal life? Teaching your teen how to get his or her message across without offending another person is important. Communication is a critical skill that a teenager will need to master for interpersonal relationships in personal and professional lives.

9. Behavioral Skills

The character of an individual shows in the way he or she behaves. Help your teenager build a strong personality by helping them develop healthy behavior. Here are a few basic things you can teach them.

  • Accepting a mistake, admitting a fault, and taking responsibility for their actions are perhaps the first things you can teach your teen.
  • Most teenagers have a problem apologizing. Teach them to say ‘sorry’ and not feel embarrassed about it.
  • Morality is a concept that you should introduce to your teenagers early on. That teaches them to stand up for what they believe is right, conscientiousness, and a sense of responsibility for the less fortunate.

10. Coping with Emotions

Teenagers tend to see everything in black and white. Teaching them to cope will allow them to see that it is not all good or bad, there is something in between. Coping and self-management skills that you can teach your teenager, especially girls, include:

  • Self-management or control, this allows them to set the pace to how they react to different situations, people, and things in life.
  • Teens will have to cope with loneliness and being away from their loved ones when they go to college. It can be a difficult time for them if they do not learn how to deal with the change.
  • Avoid impulsive decisions that can have severe consequences, mostly negative.
  • Managing feelings in a healthy way. Teach your teen to think and act, rather than react. Reactions can result in negative consequences, but thoughtful action seldom does.
  • As an adult, your teen will have to deal with stress at work, home, in personal relationships and so on. Coping with stress is an important skill you should help your teen acquire.
  • A critical skill that you should help your teenager with is accepting their emotions. Tell them that no emotion is bad or good, and it is okay to feel happy, sad, afraid, angry, aroused, silly, jealous, and even guilty. The trick is not to dwell on a particular emotion.
  • Teach them different ways to deal with their emotions, such as physical activity, meditation, listening to music, or just by talking about it.
  • Spirituality can also help in coping with major changes in life.
  • Empathize with them where possible and understand that they are still learning to manage emotions and stay calm.

11. Problem-solving Skills

Finally, among the 11 essential main life skills for Kenyan teens to learn is problem-solving. You cannot expect your children to come back to you for help every time they have a problem. What you can do is teach them to deal with problems like mature adults.

  • Teach your kids to face problems, rather than run away from them.
  • When your teen comes to you asking for advice, try not to jump in and resolve the problem for them. Ask them what they think they should do and help them work through possible options. This will help break the habit of coming to you.
  • The first step to problem-solving is identifying the problem. The key is to find out exactly what is bothering them and why it is a problem. Help them narrow down their problem by asking a simple question: “Is my current situation different from how I would want it to be?”
  • Once they pinpoint the problem, help them come up with a list of possible solutions to it.
  • Analyze each solution to know which option gives you the desired result, or something close to it.
  • Once they shortlist the options, your kids will have to use their decision-making skills to pick an option they think is best for them.
  • Then they can apply the chosen solution and check if they are right.
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