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Life skills teens want to know

When you are sent off into the world after high school, you are expected to know so much. Not only all the reading, writing and arithmetic that school has taught, but so much more. Here is a list of some of the things our Teen Advisory Board at Children’s Mercy thought all teens should know before they venture out on their own.


  • How to get car tags, title and registration. Also, where to put that pesky renewal sticker. 😊
  • How to change a tire, check air pressure and when to balance tires.
  • How to jump a car battery.
  • What to do in a fender bender or wreck. Should you call the police, move the car and what insurance information should you share?


  • Maintenance, even for renters, is important to understand to keep homes safe and kept up.
  • What are utilities and how do you handle bills? How do you start utilities?
  • Cleaning and which products to use. From removing stains, how often to wash sheets and towels and cleaning out the lint trap in the dryer. And knowing how to clean the microwave is a must.
  • Cheap and healthy foods recipes. And how to properly store produce so it stays fresh as long as possible.


  • Retirement and taxes is a big one. Just how much should you plan to have held out of your paycheck? Not a typical class in school, but topics that affect us all.
  • Credit card management.
  • Budgeting.


  • Medical insurance and understanding deductibles and all the available coverage options.
  • How and when to book a doctor’s appointment.
  • When to go to the ER or the urgent care for a medical issue.

Other topics

  • How to write a resume, interview and dress professionally. Most older teens may have had some work experience, but it can feel like a different world when they start to apply for jobs after high school.
  • Emotions, self-regulation and managing stress. When kids are learning to balance it all – school, part-time jobs, social life and new independence, it can feel like a lot of pressure.
  • Where to vote, how often and how to register to vote.
  • Travel tips and how to book flights. As young people start to explore the world, sharing some travel hacks and safety tips will help them to enjoy the journey.

Another topic teens may be unsure about, is where to turn if they are in a situation they can’t handle themselves. It’s often assumed that our kids know they could always come to us as their parents, but that may not always be understood. It’s important to reshare you are still their parent, even if they’ve gone to the next stage in life. They’ll always be your baby.

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