Summertime and the living is easy. It’s also a great time to make future living easier for teenagers. During term-time, everyone is busy so it’s often quicker for parents to do the task themselves. But these teens will soon be heading off on their own and will need some life skills.

I have met teens who can bake, change a tyre, and do their own laundry. I have also met others who don’t know how to use a toaster. In a world where they can Google how to do pretty much everything, I believe there is still a role for parents to teach children some of what they themselves learned from their parents.

So what are the important life skills? Well, as food is a top priority for most, basic cooking is important. They may well assume they can live on take-out and instant noodles once they have left home; and yes, they could survive on both. However, one will leave them broke and the other, isn’t exactly the most balanced meal.

A few basics like how to boil and fry an egg and toast bread are a good start. Pasta and tuna isn’t too complicated and a bolognese sauce would feed even the hungriest young adult. Chef JP McMahon did a series of ‘10 things your children should know how to cook’ on his social media which is well worth a look.

I did ask one of my now adult children if I should mention how to food shop. He laughed and said they cooked and ate whatever they took from the cupboards on Sunday evenings.

Still, it’s no harm to bring them along when you go grocery shopping. They might get an idea of the cost of things.

Don’t laugh but washing up is a life skill. If you don’t think so, I can tell you about a young man who covered the base of his plate each day with tin foil. After he ate he cleaned his plate by scrunching up the tin foil and binning it.

I have a wonderful Uncle Gerry who worked in catering. I remember when I could barely reach the sink, he showed me how to wash glasses.

Mine laughed when I showed them how to sew on a button. Now they are delighted as they can upcycle vintage clothes

Laundry is definitely a life skill. Yes, they will arrive home at the weekend with bags of clothes that smell worse than those worn for sheep shearing, but it really is time they did their own. While they might not be listening and think this is easy, it will only take one white shirt to emerge a lovely shade of pink for them to learn the basics.

Post a parcel

Not all life skills are domestic. I recently had a 21-year-old ask me how he would post a parcel. He had returned goods bought online but they were collected by courier. He had never had to parcel something up and bring it to the post office.

Changing a tyre is a great skill as is knowing how to lift the bonnet and fill the window washer fluid. Mine laughed when I showed them how to sew on a button. Now they are delighted as they can upcycle vintage clothes. How to iron is not a skill I like to teach as I’m allergic to ironing.

They will also learn in their own way. My son Ian once made a roast chicken dinner while in college. His downfall was the gravy which was full of lumps. He came up with the rather genius idea of serving it in the teapot so all the lumps were caught in the strainer.

Teaching skills is also a great way to spend time with them. You’ll be glad of those times chopping onions or perusing the aisles of the supermarket when they head off on their next adventure.