According to a number of experts, millennials show a shocking dearth of life skills such as cooking, repairing things around the home, and balancing a budget. This lack of basic, “how to” knowledge is so widespread that schools that teach people “how to adult” have sprung up across the U.S. For example, clinical psychologist Rachel Weinstein founded “The Adulting School.” Some people blame high schools, which no longer regularly offer classes like Home Economics. Others think the issue springs from trends in parenting, like Helicopter Parenting, when the parents not only keep an overly close eye on everything their children do, they do all the work of life for them.
Necessary Skills for Future Homeowners
But most parents would agree that they want their children to succeed in life and that means handling basic life skills on their own. Here’s a list of things you can do to help your kids be successful as future homeowners one day.
Water Shutoff and Breaker Box
Children should learn there’s one supply point where all the water coming into the house can be shut off. Also, they should know where the electrical breaker box is, and how to check to see if any breakers have tripped. While you’re at it, show them that the GFCI outlets in your bathroom and kitchen sometimes trip and how to reset them.
Avoid Freezing Pipes
As you know, if garden hoses are left attached to a house when the temperature dips below the freezing point, water that has accumulated at that juncture will expand as it freezes and likely burst the pipes. Remind kids how and why to detach them.
Maintain the Water Heater
Regularly draining the hot water heater is a key task for maintenance. Sediments and sludge can build up over time, so show your children how to safely drain a hot water heater.
Change the HVAC Filters
Your heating and air conditioning unit cannot work properly if the air filter is dirty. Show your kids where the air filter is on the unit, and how to replace it, as well as teaching them how often this task should be done.
The Value of a Toilet Plunger
Every household should have at least one toilet plunger and at least one person who knows how to use it to unclog a backed up toilet.
The Importance of Fire Extinguishers
Since it’s one of the annual household tasks that is still mentioned in schools, your kids are probably aware that they should change the batteries in smoke alarms twice a year (often done when Daylight Savings Time starts and stops.) Make sure they know how to do this, and while you’re at it, show them where you keep your fire extinguisher and explain how to use it and how to tell if it’s still in working order.
You can save a lot of money if you repaint rooms or put up new wallpaper yourself instead of hiring someone to do it. Both tasks, while time-consuming, are not difficult to learn. But both can seem overwhelming if no one has ever shown you how to do them. Teach your kids what tools are needed, how to choose paint color or wallpaper patterns, how to apply paint, both with rollers and with edging brushes, how to cut and hang wallpaper, and the different types of paint and what surfaces each works best on.
Fix a Leaky Faucet
Sometimes a faucet is so badly damaged it will need to be replaced. This is something many people prefer to hire a plumber to do. But most minor drips and leaks are easy to fix. Often, all you need to do is put in a new washer. Show your kids how to do it!
Create a Handy Toolbox
Many young renters, or even homeowners, don’t own so much as a hammer! Teach the value of good tools to your older children and give them a list of essentials they will want to have on hand, such as:
- Screwdrivers: Phillips and flathead
- Nails and screws of various sizes
- Picture hanging wire
- Hand saw for wood
- Hacksaw for metal
- Electrical tape
- Duct tape
- Tape measure
- Utility knife
- Electric drill
- Indoor/outdoor heavy duty extension cord
If you give your kids some basic knowledge of how to maintain their homes, who knows, maybe they will develop an interest and become expert at remodeling and repair! Most important, though, you will set them up as successful future homeowners.