As a father, watching your child move away from home is hard. You may feel uneasy about their decision, especially if they’re looking to move into an apartment and not a supervised college dorm. As your soon-to-be independent young adult is on the look-out for an apartment, it’s important to teach them some basic tasks and lessons before they officially leave the home they’re comfortable in. Here are a few important topics you need to cover.
Basic Household Tasks
Many kids are given chores or tasks around the house to complete as they’re growing up. However, it’s important to go over some basic rules and tips when it comes to laundry, cleaning, and organization. First, teach your teen how to do laundry if they don’t already know. Explain the different cycle options and what to use for certain items of clothing. When it comes to cleaning, your teen needs to understand that living in an apartment requires that they keep their home tidy and safe.
Cleaning the kitchen after making meals, doing their dishes, cleaning out the fridge of old food, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and basic organization are important so that animals and bugs don’t become an issue in their apartment. Your teen should also be aware of the cleanliness of their bedroom. Their sheets and pillowcases should be cleaned frequently, and their mattress should be rotated or flipped once every three months to once a year.
Grocery Shopping and Meal Prepping
Parents typically perform grocery shopping duties for their families as their kids are growing up. Your teen likely knows the basic food groups, but give them some tips as to how to make sure they’re getting their daily servings each day by bringing them with you on a grocery shopping trip. Since they’ll be shopping for one when they move out, provide some insight as to how much food they should be buying every week.
Additionally, to put their groceries into action, explain how meal prep can be very helpful, especially since they’ll only be prepping for one. Preparing several salads, making one pot of spaghetti and splitting it up, slicing up apples, and organizing snack foods are some examples that allow for less cooking time and each food group to be accounted for in a given day or week. Show your teen how to shift a recipe so they can make less and avoid getting sick of the same foods.
Saving Money on Bills
When your teen goes to live on their own, they’ll be responsible for paying their own bills. These bills may include rent, Wi-Fi, and electric and/or gas. In the warmer months, your teen will likely become part of the 84% of homes in the U.S. that have some kind of air conditioning, and running them can become expensive. Be sure to provide your teen with some basic tips on how to keep their bills low. Turn lights off, unplug unused electronics, keep showers on the short end, and utilize heat and AC only when needed. By doing these things, your soon-to-be young adult won’t be paying unnecessarily high utility bills.
Budget Their Money
Similar to paying bills, your teen needs to know how to budget their money when they move out and are on their own financially. Budgeting money for their rent, Wi-Fi and utility bills, credit card bills, student loans, groceries, other necessities, and fun stuff is important. Setting aside a small amount of money for fun stuff will help your teen budget their money efficiently. Using an app or website to track all of their bills month-to-month may be helpful, too.
How to Be Independent
Moving out means your teen thinks they’re ready for the real world, but they’ll likely have to prove this when it comes to dealing with adult issues independently. As a parent, it’s important to provide guidance and tips but not become directly involved once they’re moved out. This way, your young adult will learn from their mistakes and be more likely to handle the next difficulty even better. Difficult tasks may include making appointments, dealing with roommates and landlords, and finding apartments in the future. On average, American homeowners move every five to seven years, and renters often move every one to two years. As your teen grows up and learns the realities of the real world, they’ll be able to become more and more independent and be able to make educated decisions.
Your guidance and support as a father are more important than you think as you help your teen navigate entering the real, adult world that is full of life lessons your child is yet to learn. Prepare your teen by providing them tips and advice related to basic household tasks, grocery shopping and meal prepping, saving and budgeting their money, and increasing their independence. As a parent, you want to help as much as you can. Prepare your child now so they have a basic understanding to hold on to as they navigate adulthood in the years to come.