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What every child should know before leaving home

Updated on December 7, 2010

The Empty Nest When Children Leave Home

It's a day that most parents dread. But it comes, none-the-less and usually before we are ready for it. Your children grow up and are anxious to be out of the home and be on their own. You can make the transition from childhood home to home of their own a little easier by making sure your child knows what every child should know before leaving home.

Balancing a checkbook
Balancing a checkbook

Teach Your Child to Balance a Checkbook

Though plastic money is quickly becoming the accepted and expected currency, you still need to know how to balance a checkbook. With the simplicity of using debit cards, keeping track of expenditures can be easily overlooked. This can lead to costly overdraft fees and ultimately reflect badly on your credit report.

A child should be taught the ins and outs of banking such as deposits, withdrawals, keeping an eye on the balance in the account and the charges that may be incurred if they lose track.

If they have access to a credit card, they need to keep track of credit purchases as well.

Along with banking know how, your child should know how to pay bills on time. If they are moving into a dorm room, this may not be relevant, but it will be something they will need to know at some point in their new life away from home.

Doing Laundry at the Laundromat
Doing Laundry at the Laundromat

Teach Your Children How to do Their Own Laundry

If you're lucky, your child has been helping with the laundry while still at home, but if not, then they should at least have basic knowledge of washing clothes. The alternative may find them bring home loads of laundry on the weekends for Mom to do.

All that is needed in the laundry lesson is the basics of separating colors from whites and choosing the right water temperature. Most apartment buildings and dorms have laundry facilities available, so there really is no reason why Mom should have to do junior's laundry once he's left home.

Cooking basics
Cooking basics

Basic Kitchen Know How Every Child Should Learn

Though Top Ramin seems to be a favorite of young people these days, it's not the most nutritious thing they could be eating. Basic kitchen knowledge is a handy skill to send your child out into the world with.

If your child feels intimidated by fixing an actual meal, they will fall back on junk food or spend their (or your) hard-earned money on fast food.

Before they leave home, take some time and plan several sample meals. Go over how to shop for the meals and how to prepare them. This will give your child a good nutritious foundation to build on.

Need healthy recipes ideas? Healthy Low Cost Low Calorie Meals

Cleaning house
Cleaning house

Your Child Should Learn Basic Housecleaning Before They Leave Home

This one can be a frustrating one. Even though your child may leave home with the knowledge of basic tidiness, he may not follow through. I've found that cleaning is very low on most young person's list of things to do today.

Basic housecleaning skills should entail, washing dishes, vacuuming, dusting, making the bed, and keeping the bathroom cleaner than a gas station restroom. These few simple tasks can make the difference between living in a decent place and living in a hovel.

Basic car maintainence
Basic car maintainence

Teach Your Child Basic car care

Basic car care can be as simple as knowing how to pump gas, check the oil, keep an eye on the tire pressure, and be aware of the lights and gauges on the dashboard. Or it can be more thorough to include changing a flat tire, changing the oil, and checking the levels of the cooling system, brake and steering fluid.

At the very least, your child should be taught to keep an eye on these things and take the car in for service if problems arise. Keeping the car running and on the road is a lot more cost effective then replacing it.

Basic home repair
Basic home repair

Simple Home Repairs Your Child Should Know

Your child should leave home with a basic tool kit and the knowledge to use it. Simple home repairs include the ability to replace the washer in a leaking faucet, unplug a sink and a toilet, hang a curtain rod, change a light bulb and the batteries in the smoke detector and check for tripped switches in the fuse box. It could also include setting up a computer and connecting a DVD player to the television set.

Just for the sake of being well-rounded

A few bonus things that might help your child along the way.

  • Order take out
  • Order something online
  • Deal with the DMV
  • Make a doctors appointment
  • Tie a tie
  • Change the bag on the vacuum cleaner

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  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 5 years ago from California

    You are right. Sewing and mending is a lost art. I should know better since I am a seamstress by trade.

  • profile image

    beth 5 years ago

    Don't forget teaching basic sewing, i.e. sewing on a button, mending a tear etc.

  • superyoss profile image

    superyoss 6 years ago from Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia

    Thank you for this hub. I will share this to my church's members, even we live in a different country.

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 8 years ago from California

    Thanks Leslie_Carol for commenting.

  • Leslie_Carol profile image

    Leslie_Carol 8 years ago from Somewhere between Dallas and Fort Worth

    Great hub, love the videos!

  • queenbe profile image

    queenbe 8 years ago from NY

    This was a sensational hub. It is great info and very well put together. It definitely makes a difference with the child when they leave and you also know they are prepared as best as you could do. Kudos!

  • profile image

    IĆ°unn 8 years ago

    great advice, well put together hub. I loved the accompanying pics. :D

  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 8 years ago from California

    That's very good advice, Christa. My youngest son actually moved into the guest house of a family friend when he first moved out, which made it easier on both of us.

  • Christa Dovel profile image

    Christa Dovel 8 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

    Good tips. I think it also helps to live away from home for short, supervised periods of time, so the child can learn multiple methods of doing things. A trusted relative is an excellent choice.