By Alex Bishop

Parents are responsible for the care and wellbeing of their child, which means it’s important to teach them the essential life skills at an appropriate age.

At the age of 13, your child is officially a teenager. But because the transition between child and adolescent occurs at different rates for every individual, some parents have difficulty determining what skills their child should know now they are teenager.

Figuring out which life skills your child should have by the time they turn 13 is essential for preparing them for adult life, which is just around the corner. Here are ten life skills your child should have by the time they become a teenager:

  1. Making Meals

By the age of 13, your child should be able to cook basic meals with relative ease. As they become more independent, their reliance on you decreases, meaning they should be able to take care of themselves by preparing their own food.

This doesn’t mean you stop making them food of course, but simply have confidence in the fact that they can do so if need be. They don’t need to have a full culinary understanding, but rather an idea of the basic points of buying groceries and preparing meals.

2.Waking Themselves Up

Too many parents fall into the trap of being their teenager’s personal alarm clock, but it’s very important that your child can get themselves up and ready on their own. Otherwise, your giving them the idea that you will always be there to wake them up and get them ready, which isn’t the case.

3.Personal Hygiene

Every child should be in complete control of their own grooming habits before they turn 13. It’s an important skill that is necessary for remaining healthy and hygienic, while ensuring they don’t have social issues arising from a lack of cleanliness.

Be sure they brush their teeth and wash themselves daily, explaining the importance of doing so. If you have a son, it may be the time to teach him about shaving, although this may not be necessary for everyone.

4.Maintaining Their Room

Getting a teenager to start cleaning their own room is often difficult, yet it’s an important life skill that shouldn’t be overlooked. Like their personal hygiene, you want them to be able to keep their personal space clean, tidy, and hygienic for their own benefit.

It’s not a case of shouting at them to clean their rooms, instead teach them the importance of vacuuming, mopping, reducing clutter, and cleaning dishes and why it’s something all adults must do.

5.Basic Laundry

While having a 13-year-old be in control of all their laundry is quite unreasonable, you should be aiming to teach them the basics of laundry. You can’t expect them to do their own laundry without teaching them first, so try getting them to help you with the next few batches to help familiarize themselves with it.

By 13, they should be able to separate clothes for the wash and how to use the washing machine and dryer. Ironing isn’t essential, but it doesn’t hurt to get them to grips with it as sooner rather than later.

  1. Stand up for themselves and their interests

When children are young, parents take on the task of defending their child with tooth and nail. They call the teacher or talk to the parent of another child on behalf of their child. But, when your child is in junior high school or in high school, he must learn to stand up for his interests. Otherwise, you give your child the signal that they cannot do this yet and that you will do it for them and then they will never learn. Teach your child how to have a conversation with a teacher or football coach. Teach them how to share their position in a respectful manner and also teach them how to treat others with respect. Your child should learn how to listen carefully to others and consider the other person’s perspective also. Your child may still not get his way which is often the case, however they will learn how to communicate, express themselves and learn a valuable life lesson that everything does not always go the way you want even when you do explain yourself and put your best effort forward.

  1. Pack their book bag and be prepared for school

Many parents are often reminding their child not to forget their homework/lunch/gym clothes. Parents try to remind their child of what to take with them to school, but in the end, children have to be able to do this for themselves. If your child has a job later and takes his bag with him, he has to think of the things he will need when school is over without calling you to bring it to him.

  1. Order food in a restaurant

Children need to be able to decide for themselves what to eat without your help. In a restaurant, they can practice this by making their own choices. Also, teach them how to politely order their food while making direct eye contact with the waitor when speaking.

  1. Shopping

Whether it is to the supermarket, the bicycle repair shop or the chemist: teach your child how it works. Let your child go to a store by themselves with a certain assignment or grocery list to practice shopping on their own prior to turning 13.


  1. Travel by public transport

Maybe your child is going to Jr high-school or high school that is a town away and he will have to use the bus or train. Before your child makes that trip, he will have to know how it works. You can go together once or twice, so you can explain how everything works. Then let your child experience it alone and give him the confidence that he can do it by himself, without help from you.


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