The time has arrived. As a parent, it’s something that comes with a lot of emotions—worry, excitement, nervousness, pride. When sending your senior out into the world, you’re sending a big piece of your heart out into it as well, and you may feel like they are unguarded and unprotected. Yet you know it’s inevitable and a vital part of your child’s maturation.

Sleep a little easier by ensuring you’ve prepared them for some of the basic obstacles that life throws their way. They’ll always need mom and dad but instilling them with the knowledge and life skills listed below will go a long way in letting them stand on their own.

Financial Literacy

Perhaps the most vital skill that you should be sure your child has is understanding their personal finances and being smart with their money.

Start by talking how the family approaches budgeting. Go through your monthly budget and identify how your money gets allocated. Make clear the importance of saving money for retirement, ensuring all bills are paid before money is spent on other things, and that fun purchases come last when all is said and done.

It’s also important that your child understands the value of money. As the saying goes, it doesn’t grow on trees. Prepare them with the likely monthly expenses they will face and ensure they understand that their standard of living while on their own will almost certainly be different than what they’re used to living with mom and dad.

Basic Life Skills

If they haven’t taken over some of the more major chores by now, it’s high-time they get started.

Having your child do their own laundry is an essential life skill and will be foundational to living independently (more on that in a bit). Stand by their side as they sort their clothes into whites, colors, etc., and walk them through each step of the process. From then on, they take the reins of keeping their clothes clean. It’s important for them and it lightens your load—pun intended. Additional household skills they should head out on their own knowing how to do include plunging a toilet, cleaning the stove, mowing the lawn, and unclogging drains.

Basic car maintenance is another important life skill that—up until now, at least—could very easily have fallen on mom and dad. If they’re going to navigate the world by themselves, it’s best that they do so in a vehicle that has been properly taken care of. They should know how and when to schedule an oil change, how to check and add air to tires, and even how to change a tire. Make sure they know which type of fuel goes in the car and the consequences of using the wrong type of fuel. 

Independent Living

Mom and dad won’t be around every day to keep an eye on their child’s health and wellbeing once they leave the house. While it was easy and comforting to look after your child when they were feeling under the weather, they’re going to need to know how to take care of themselves when they’re on their own.

It may sound simplistic, but it is vital that your child knows how to treat symptoms with which over-the-counter medicines and when to call the doctor when they won’t suffice. Let the task of scheduling doctor and dentist appointments fall on them before they leave home so that they’ll have it mastered when the time comes. Your child should understand medicine dosages and labels, as well as the process of obtaining refills if necessary.

At the end of the day, your child will still always need their guardians to some degree—and that’s perfectly okay. But instilling these basic life skills in them before they venture out into the world on their own will go a long way in both them taking ownership of their lives and your peace of mind.