Teaching Household Management Life Skills to Your Gifted Teen

It’s kind of scary to think about sending my son out into the big world as an adult. I mean, he sometimes forgets to change his clothes. I do know that when he has a standard routine, he’s excellent at remembering to do his tasks. That’s why I think focusing the next few years on building regular routines for him to do, and add to as he gets older, will set him up to be successful at household management as an adult. 

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Household Management Life Skills to Teach Gifted Teens | Renée at Great Peace #ihsnet #gifted


Day 3 – Household Management Life Skills

Housekeeping Basics

One of the most important things to teach your teens is to have a regular household cleaning routine. Help them develop habits that will carry them throughout their adulthood. Remember that gifted individuals can struggle to remember to do what they consider mundane things. But when they develop a regular habit it becomes part of their world rather than a mundane task. 

I suggest starting with adding tasks to their routine a little at a time. Set clear expectations, and allow time to show that they follow-through on their own without your prompting. After they’ve developed the ability to follow-through on one task, assign another.

By the time they are ready to leave home, they should be taking on quite a lot of the housekeeping basics. Why? Doesn’t that seem kind of unfair to dump the housework on your soon to be leaving nearly adult child? Some may look at it like that. But remember we are training them in adulting. By allowing them the independence of working through a home management routine while under the safeguard of mom and dad you are ensuring that the habits they develop will equip them for success after they’ve left.

Make sure your teens have a basic understanding of at least the following areas.

  • Establish a regular household cleaning routine
  • Doing the dishes by hand
  • How to use a dishwasher
  • Cleaning bathrooms
    • clean the tub
    • shower
    • shower doors
    • toilets
    • sinks mirrors
    • floors
  • Using a vacuum
  • Making a bed
  • Dusting
  • Picking up clutter
  • Organizing a closet
  • Organizing drawers
  • Organizing paperwork
  • Taking out trash
  • Recycling

Minor Household Repairs

Even living in a college dorm, an apartment, or one day when our teens purchase their own homes, they’ll need to have a basic understanding of how to do minor repairs in their homes.

My friend Heidi at Starts at Eight wrote this great guide for teaching teens to do minor household repairs. You can find it here: Life Skills as High School Electives: Basic Household Repairs for Teens. She shares instructions on how to do these repairs.

  • Patch a Hole in a Wall
  • Paint a Room
  • Caulk a Bathtub
  • Repair/Replace a Screen
  • Weatherstrip Windows & Doors
  • Unblock a Gutter
  • Repair/Patch Asphalt
  • Hang a Picture

Be sure to also see Heidi’s Essential Household Repair Tool Kit Guide.

Laundry &  Clothing Care

Since wearing clothes is a daily task it makes sense that we teach our teens how to manage their clothing. As moms it’s fairly normal to take charge of buying clothing for the whole family. This may be especially true for moms who have only boys. But, we need to take the time to teach our son’s (and daughters) how to buy clothing that fits them appropriately. We need to instruct them in how to maintain their clothes,a and rotate them out seasonally.

My son has a difficult time transitioning clothing. What I mean by that is he’ll wear something that’s too small without telling his mom that it doesn’t fit anymore. You’d think with sensitivities he’d be frustrated when his socks are too tight, but he just doesn’t care. now… if it has a loose string, that’ another matter. He’ll for sure tell me and be quite irritated about it. 

Buying Clothing

  • Setting a budget
  • Knowing how to find the right fit
  • Knowing when to buy new items
  • Knowing the basics to keep on-hand
    • Underwear
    • Socks
    • Undershirts
    • T-Shirts
    • Dress clothing
    • Jeans
    • sportswear
    • shorts
    • hats
    • gloves
    • coats
    • jackets
    • suits
    • dresses
    • shoes, all types

Laundry Care You Should Make Sure Your Teens Know How to Do


Laundry is a never ending task. Therefore teach them young to manage their own clothing, from buying, replacing, and laundry, to clothing care with ironing, sewing and even storage. My friend Dachelle shared her 6 Reasons Why Kids Should Learn to Do Their Own Laundry and I think her points are spot on. Be sure also, to check out Heidi’s the Laundry and Clothing Tips to teach your kids the ins and outs of laundry care.

  • Using the Washer
  • Using the Dryer
  • Understanding How to Use a Laundromat
  • Knowing how to hand-wash
  • Knowing how to hang clothing to dry
  • Ironing Basics
  • Sewing Basics, hem pants, sew a button, mend a tear

Hanging Clothing in a Closet

I know this should be a simple matter. And, for most people it is. However, don’t assume your gifted children will just know how to do this. There are techniques for each type of clothing. Go over them, and allow them to practice them while you are around to help. 

  • How to hang a dress shirt
  • How to hang dresses
  • How to hang dress pants
  • How to hang straps
  • How to hang a suit
  • How to hang a collared shirt
  • How to hang winter clothing
  • How to hang accessories

Here’s some great tips for keeping a collared shirt looking fresh.

How to fold clothing, and household items

Folding clothing and household items can be a task that is subjective. Everyone seems to have their own method for how to fold t-shirts, jeans, towels, etc.. A good rule of thumb, is to teach your children how YOU fold them. Most likely you fold htem to fit your space, or how you learned from your mom or the retail clothing store you worked for while in college. 

Let me clue you in on a little secret… the goal is to fold your clothing to both fit your space efficiently, and to prevent clothing fresh from the dryer from wrinkling. HOW you go about doing that, doesn’t really matter. There I said it. 

Just teach your kids how you do it. But if they develop their own method, go with it. Nothing is worse than making a child, teen or no, feel like the work they do isn’t quite good enough.

With that being said… there are somethings that even the most experienced homemaker struggles with, such as a fitted sheet. I found this video tutorial to be excellent resource.


Securing a Place to Live 

An abode, a dwelling, a home is one of the necessities of life. Teaching your teens the how-to of securing their own place to live is not only important it’s necessary crucial. And, I think even more so for gifted teens who know more about Newton’s 3rd law than they do about how to care for their own needs.

  • Rental Applications & Agreements.
  • How to budget for rent
  • Understanding background checks
  • House Buying & Mortgages
  • Setting Up & Managing Utilities
  • Rental, Mortgage & Homeowners Insurance

Home Mechanical Management

Regardless of the type of dwelling these basics are common sense tasks that we should all know how to do. But since many gifted individuals struggle with common sense, it’s important to teach these skills and have them practice them on a regular basis. 

  • Lawn Care
    • Gardening Basics
  • Change a furnace filter
  • Add salt to the water softener
  • Paint walls
  • Turn off water supply lines
  • Unclog a toilet and a drain
  • Use the circuit breaker box
  • How tools are used, screwdriver, electric screwdriver, hammer, wrench, etc. 
  • Organizational Skills
    • A place for everything & everything in it’s place
    • What goes where
    • Organizing in different environments

Be sure to provide them with a quality tool kit.


Automotive Competence

Let’s face it. Multi-tasking can be difficult for our hyper focused boys and girls. So driving, and all the requirements related to maintaining a car might seem a bit daunting for us mamas who are going to be teaching them how to manage this. I’m not quite there yet. However, I do find myself discussing decision making skills while I’m driving with him in the car.

For example, let’s say it starts raining and I turn on the headlights, I’ll say… “Hey did you notice, I turned on the headlights? It’s because it’s now raining and it makes it easier for other cars to see me coming. And, it’s the law in many states that when it’s raining and your wipers are on, to also turn on headlights. I just wanted you to know that.” 

Or, we’ll pull up in a parking lot and I’ll choose to park in a spot. Then I might say, “I parked here because that other spot was super narrow, making it harder to pull into. It’s because the red truck parked a bit close to the line, making the space tighter. I could park there, but to be safe, I chose a wider space, even though it’s a bit farther from the door.”

Informing them of decisions made in the moment helps them to begin to grasp those minute decisions we make every single day. And, driving decisions can mean the matter of life or death, or a just a dinged up driver’s door.

  • Driving How to
  • Decision making skills
  • Getting & Renewing a Driver’s License
  • Navigational Skills
    • Reading a Map
    • Finding Information 
    • Using a Navigational App
    • Getting Help
  • Taking Public Transit

Maintaining a Vehicle

  • Pumping & buying gas
  • Understanding basic car maintenance
  • Changing a tire
  • Add air to a tire
  • Jump start a car
  • Refill various fluids
  • Changing the oil, & fluids
  • What to do when a car breaks down
  • When to bring the car in for service
  • What to do if/when getting pulled over
  • What to keep in the glovebox
  •  Insurance
    • What to do when a fender bender, or other accident occurs
  • The Basics of Buying a Car
  • Registering a car, tags, title, and taxes

Ok, these are the areas where I think we need to teach our kids how to manage a household. Of course, there are many other tasks that we do on a daily basis. Feel free to let me know in comments anything I might have overlooked that is an important task. 

Be sure to follow along all week for this 5 Day Hopscotch.
Practical Life Skills that Your Gifted Teen Needs to Know How To Do

► Day 1 – Cooking 101

► Day 2 – Finance Management

► Day 3 – Household Management

► Day 4 – Personal Care Skills

► Day 5 – On the Job Front

Peacefully Homeschooling,



This post is part of the iHomeschool Network’s 5 Day Hopscotch.

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