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teen chewing gum and holding plunger“Did you change the bed and put on new linens?” I asked my daughter on the phone, crossing my fingers.

“Of course I changed the linens, mom. When I’m a guest, I know to make the bed with fresh linens.”

I followed up, obviously not knowing how to quit while I’m ahead. “Did you make the bed with hospital corners?” I asked.

“Uh, no…I don’t know how to make hospital corners.”

I cringed at that one. I paid a lot of money to send her to overnight camp, after all.

“Didn’t anyone ever teach you how to make hospital corners?”

“You did…but I wasn’t listening.”

So, my youngest daughter does not know how to make a bed the “right” way. So what? Was this a #parentingfail? Does it matter? I think it does.

And then one day last winter my niece drove around with a windshield she could barely see out of, because the car had run out of window washer fluid hours before and she didn’t know how to fix that problem. We made a trip to the gas station and had a lesson.

And that got me thinking.

What are the basic life skills should we be teaching our kids before they leave the nest? What should they know?

Here’s a few:

  1. How to make a bed with hospital corners.
  2. How to unclog a toilet.
  3. How to fix a flat tire.
  4. How use the washing machine and dryer, and how to fold a fitted sheet properly
  5. How to check the oil in a car…and change it, if necessary.
  6. How to write a proper snail mail thank you note.
  7. How to sew on a button.
  8. How to sew a hem.
  9. How to cook a basic meal.
  10. How to make a pot a coffee (instead of going to Starbucks)
  11. How to determine which clothes you really need to take to the dry cleaner.
  12. How to hand wash and dry a sweater that needs to be hand washed.
  13. How to get out pen, blood and wine stains.
  14. How to load the dishwasher correctly.
  15. How to use a fire extinguisher.
  16. How to jump-start a car.
  17. How to add air to car tires.
  18. How to add more window washer fluid.

I must admit, I have barely mastered all of these things in my 50’s, but I expect better of my kids.

But, let’s reverse rolls for a minute. We do rely on our kids to teach us stuff. More than we realize. If they are going to be independent, it’s time that we become independent of them. Here’s what I think they might say parents need to learn before the kids leave the nest for good:

  1. How to fix your own f%*king computer!
  2. How to shut up and not give your advice all the time (for example, by writing posts like this one.)
  3. How to use twitter.
  4. How to use Instagram.
  5. How to use snap chat.
  6. What to post on Facebook and what not to.
  7. How to use the correct acronyms for things: FOMO, YOLO, GTFO, etc.
  8. How to order Starbucks so the coffee is waiting for you when you get there.
  9. What the difference is between a betch and a bitch
  10. How to shop and cook for one or two people
  11. How to send a text without periods
  12. How not to worry every time you do not hear from your children for 24 hours.
  13. How to get a life separate from your kids.
  14. How to get by in life without ever owning a checkbook or stepping foot in a bank.
  15. How to eliminate the 1043 emails in your smartphone inbox
  16. How to get by in life without owning a car (eliminating the need for all those basic car maintenance lessons)
  17. How to recycle properly.
  18. How to use hashtags properly.

So you see, we have a little work to do too!

Please feel free to add to either list in the comment section below!

 

 

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18 Things KIDS and PARENTS Each Need To know Before The Kids Leave The Nest For Good was last modified: by