There are countless important life skills for teens, and the ones that matter most to you may depend on your interests, your personal values, and what you’re planning to do with these skills. I’ve tried to include a little something for everyone on this list of skills, from the bare essentials that every teenager should learn, to some other skills that are a bit more specific and may not be universally useful but are still worth considering.
There are many important skills in life that will help you out over and over again, and there are also some life skills that make your life easier, that help you enjoy life, that help you to cope with challenges that come your way, and more. Let’s get right into the list of life skills for teens!
Download our life skills checklist for young adults: We’ve compiled this article into a PDF that you can download. It’s just a simple list, it doesn’t have the same descriptions and everything, so it works great as a checklist. You can click here to download our teenage life skills checklist pdf. (Note: the PDF is currently down, we’re adding an updated version very soon.)
List of Life Skills for Young Adults That are Crucial to Being Independent
Let’s start with the absolute must-have life skills that everyone should work towards mastering, or at least gaining a decent proficiency, and then putting more effort towards the ones that interest you the most. Either way, you should put some time into every single one of these skills, because these are all very valuable things to get good at. This is our list of essential life skills for teens, so please put some serious consideration into these ones.
These aren’t presented in any particular order, we’re not ranking them by importance. I’m just saying that all of the skills on this first list are the most important ones, overall, and this is arguably and you could probably convince me that there are other ones that should be up here, too. But we had to start somewhere, right? So let’s start with these life skills for teenagers…
How to Cook: I think this is one of the most important skills in life, but you don’t have to agree with me! You don’t have to be the next celebrity chef or culinary expert, but having a few good recipes under your belt and basic knowledge of what makes food taste good and how to prepare it will get you very far. Cooking a meal for someone is a great way to ingratiate yourself to them, and it’s important to be able to feed yourself with good food as you enter adulthood.
Financial Literacy: Financial literacy includes the basics of budgeting, how to save money, how to pay bills, how to write a check (even if that’s pretty uncommon these days), how to open a bank account for teens, and more. Learning the basics of how finance works, how loans work, how to stay out of debt and more can help teenagers avoid some crushing financial challenges later in life.
Manners: I’m not saying that you need to go to some fancy etiquette school to learn how to be stuffy and obnoxious, but learning basic manners is really important, especially for teens whose parents didn’t really teach them. Knowing to send a thank you letter when someone does something nice for you (even if it’s an email or a text) goes a very long way, and there’s a lot more to learn, too.
These are the ones that I consider absolutely crucial life skills to master for teenagers, but there are a lot more that we’ll be looking at next. I’m not saying that many of these other ones aren’t super important, too, but having decent manners, knowing how finances work, and being able to feed yourself is like a trifecta for surviving in today’s world.
Life Skills for Teenagers at Home
Here are some life skills that come in handy around the home.
Doing Laundry Correctly: Hopefully, you know how to toss your clothes in the washing machine and to get it spinning, but there’s more to it than that. Paying attention to the labels on your clothes that tell you how to wash each piece correctly will ensure that your clothes last longer, and look great longer, too. This can save you a lot of money on clothes, and your favorite outfits will last longer.
Yard Maintenance: The basics of how to maintain your yard, including the various tools that you use. For example, knowing the very basics of how to safely use a lawnmower and how to safely fix the most common issues if something goes wrong with it. Also, knowing how to care for plants if you have a garden, and how to take care of a lawn, and how to do the trim, and more… it’s just good stuff to know if you plan on owning a home later in life, so ask your parents if you can help out around the yard if you aren’t already.
Hygiene and Grooming: Basic hygiene and grooming are obviously very important, so is learning the basic upkeep for whatever style you have. For example, if you have a beard growing in or a mustache, learn to trim it properly and to care for it to keep it looking nice. You’d be surprised how many people don’t wash their legs in the shower, they just let the soap run down them and consider it clean.
Staying Organized: Learning the basics of staying organized in your home, and your digital life, will give you a sense of peace that will follow you all throughout your life. It’s hard for people to get organized if they don’t form these skills early on, but you can always learn skills and strategies at any age. You’ll get much more use out of your belongings since you’ll always be able to find everything. Set yourself up for a life that isn’t filled with misplacing things, digging through boxes, and never knowing where anything is.
Personal Development Life Skills for Teenagers and Career-Related Skills
It might be a little bit too soon to start planning for your working career, but here are some career-related skills and personal development tips that will help you in your relationships throughout your life, and in your professional life as well.
Professional Communication: Knowing how to sound confident in your professional communications is important, as is a basic understanding of how to communicate in a clear and concise way. If people come off unclear or rude, it could cost them opportunities they may not even realize. A lot of this can be picked up from a book like the 7 habits of highly effective teens.
Listening Skills: Listening to your coworkers and your clients is valuable, and listening to your partners and friends is absolutely essential. People don’t always want solutions or advice, sometimes they just want someone to listen. you can always ask someone if they want advice, though, but otherwise – learn to listen and it’ll get you far. If you are a good listener, you might be able to consider a teenage volunteer opportunity at somewhere like a helpline for teens.
Empathy: Having empathy for people, even if you don’t agree with them and even if they’re not being super kind to you, can help you to move on from bad situations without taking things personally. Understanding that if someone isn’t being great, they probably have some other stuff going on, even if they’re taking it out on you.
Boundaries: Understanding boundaries is incredibly valuable both in terms of personal lives and professional lives. There are certain lines that shouldn’t be crossed in a professional setting, and in your personal life it’s important to know how to set your own boundaries as you see fit, and learning how to respect the boundaries of those in your life.
Learning Life Skills for Teens is So Important!
Hopefully, you’ve found some skills on this list that interest you in learning more about. You’re on the internet, so there are great resources to learn and master just about everything you could ever imagine, just make sure you’re using good advice from reputable sources! For example, you don’t want to learn about finance from some shady website, but a site like Investopedia is a great place to start.
There’s too much to cover for us to write complete guides on each of these skills, but hopefully, these ideas will help get you started. Some of them are fun and rewarding, other ones are just important even if they aren’t always the most pleasant. You can pick and choose what to focus on, depending on your own values, but just make sure you’re learning or avoiding various skills for the right reasons and not out of fear or laziness. Can you think of any other life skills for teens that are good to know?