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Adulting 101 – A Crash Course in 3 Important Areas

Age: 5+

Time: 10–30 minutes over multiple sessions

Materials: none


Focus: develop life skills

Adulting 101 – Your Parenting Syllabus

Adulting 101 - Finances
  • budgeting
  • checking & savings (how to open bank accounts)
  • mortgage & car payments (contracts, interest, insurance)
  • groceries (coupons, sales, where to shop)
  • credit (how it works, how to get a cc, pay off the balance)
  • taxes (how they work, what they’re for)
  • whatever else is important in your family
Adulting 101 - Nutrition
  • portion control
  • organic vs. regular (when it’s worth buying which)
  • fruit, vegetable, grain, or carbohydrate and what each does for our bodies
  • how exercise and nutrition work together
  • metabolism
  • processed vs. whole foods
  • whatever else is important in your family
Adulting 101 - Transportation
  • rules to using rideshare services like Uber/Lyft
  • how to read a subway/bus/train map (and how to buy a ticket/pass)
  • where to go for help (AAA or another service)
  • whatever else is important in your family

The term “adulting” first emerged on Twitter around 2008. Since then it’s had stratospheric growth as a meme-theme and blogger topic (e.g., Adulting 101: Everything You Need to Know).

Given that and the mounting numbers of college courses that are earnestly attempting to teach young people the specifics of how to be a successful adult made us realize that too many parents are missing a key element in their relationships.

When you were a kid, didn’t you think to yourself, “I can’t WAIT to be an adult, so I can do anything I want!” We certainly did! Being an adult was going to be the best thing ever … an adventure, an opportunity, a gift.

But all of this generational anxiety around being a grown-up suddenly feels like families are really struggling with how to convey life lessons to their children.

The joy of being a grown-up has been replaced by fear. That shouldn’t be the case.

The list of activities above includes things you can do with your young kids or teens while they’re at home. That way you don’t have to rely on (read: pay for) a university (or the “school of hard knocks”) to teach your children how to be adults.

In terms of what I shared here, your Adulting 101 home course can be taught in a number of ways:

  • Finances—next time you pay your bills or balance your bank account, ask your child to join you.
  • Nutrition—this is a great discussion at the dinner table or while you’re cooking or shopping.
  • Transportation—yes, the current pandemic means we’re all not using public transportation as much. However, that won’t always be the case. Next time you need to go somewhere, let your teen figure out how to get there or look at a map with your younger child and work it out together. When it comes to family car maintenance, take your child with you to the shop!

Ultimately, the best preparation for “adulting” comes from the modeling you do as a parent, the actions you take to engage them in thinking about their future, and the environments you expose them to where they can make decisions whilst in your care.

If you can do that successfully, then the need for an adulting 101 session won’t be so dire and “adulting” on their own won’t be nearly so overwhelming. They can save college for classes in underwater basket weaving and/or organic chemistry … what college is really for.

Use the download below to start your family journey teaching and modeling another adulting 101 skill, personal responsibility.


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Somer Loomis

Somer is the Chief Content Officer at Raising Families living in Southern California with her seven-year-old son and two-year-old daughter. She spent 10 years in the architecture field as a designer and medical planner and now applies her love of integrative thinking and big-picture planning to her family and career.

In her free time she loves to try new recipes she knows her children will never eat and do art projects she saved on Pinterest at least five years ago. Read full bio >>

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