Life Skills for all tweens
As adults, we tend to expect our children to carry out simple tasks, such as waking up on time or taking medication. Simple life skill tasks may not be so simple for tweens, who are constantly going through hormonal and life changes.
L.A. Works has a program called CAPS – Creating Aspiring Personalities for Success (www.CAPSforSuccess.org). This organization, based in Los Angeles County, is a non-profit project designed to mentor teens and preteens ages 11-18 on life skills through interactive workshops. It was created to help high-risk youth in L.A. become successful adults. Although it is for high-risk kids, the CAPS offers good examples of ways to mentor all children through volunteer projects,
WebMD (www.webmd.com) shares an article called HD: 7 Life Skills Your Child May Need to Master by Stephanie Watson. This article focuses on ADHD kids, but the principles apply to all tweens or teens. Kids with ADHD might be a little slower grasping a task, but it is a result of needing “more structure and more skill support.”
Ms. Watson shares seven life skills to teach children.
- Independence. Shift responsibility to the teen, even making his or her own appointments,
- Time Management. Use a timer if necessary to break up time into 20 minute chunks and 5 minute breaks for ADHD kids, but with other kids they need to get a sense of their own time frames.
- Organization. Find ways to get child to organize own room, such as bins to hold supplies.
- Money. Think about opening a bank account for child to manage allowance or other earned money. A credit or debit card will work also if you limit the amount and create a budget for any necessities.’’
- Medications. This can be handled through a smartphone alarm to remind them.
- Relationship Skills. Encourage a good choice of friends that share your child’s interests through sports, clubs, or community groups.
- Wise Decision-Making. Focus on consequences in order to curb impulsive, wrong choices.
Another option is to find a life coach for your tween. Advance LA (www.advancela.org) coaches kids to become more successful by concentrating on independent living skills, executive functioning or organizing, social connections, academic support, health and wellness, and internships and careers. Coaching is one-on-one and tailored to the individual’s needs. The Examiner (www.examiner.com) has an article by Sandra Dupont, teen life coach, in which she gives tips for teens in time management, social and emotional intelligence, assertiveness training, communication building exercises, and conflict resolution.
Tweens and teens can all benefit from these approaches. Hopefully, you can guide them to manage their life skills, but if it seems too difficult, take advantage of the resources available to you and your tween!