Teaching Personal Care Life Skills to Your Gifted Teen

I find my son’s personal care skills quite fascinating. If he has a regular routine he accomplishes his personal care very adeptly. But, if I add a new requirement, or make changes to his routine, he gets frustrated, and forgetful.

It’s really got me thinking about his adulthood and knowing that whatever routines I help him establish now, as a teenager, will carry him into college, and adulthood. 

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Teaching Personal Care Life Skills to Gifted Teens | Renée at Great Peace #ihsnet #gifted




► Day 4 – Personal Care Skills

I’m really examining areas that might need improvement. What is acceptable for a child isn’t always acceptable for a teen, and what’s acceptable for a teen, isn’t always acceptable for adults. Why? Because we make allowances for children. But with gifted children, and teens whatever foundation we lay early on the better they’ll be at managing their adult routines. 

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. We know that our asynchronous children most likely can take on adult type tasks at much earlier ages. But, do we, too often, in an attempt to keep them young, or let them be children, do them a disservice by not recognizing their advanced abilities and setting more responsible expectations? I ask this of myself, thinking perhaps I do.

Daily Routine & Time Management

When teaching your gifted teen how to manage their daily routines and time management you’ll need to set clear expectations. But, you’ll also need to set clear consequences. Think about it.

If they are adults and don’t wake up on time, make it to work on time, or complete their projects on time, they will face consequences, most likely job loss. So, our gifted teens need to understand that not managing their time well will result in negative consequences. They need to learn how to understand that their actions, or in-actions, come with ramifications.

At the same time, successfully completing their daily tasks could also result in good consequences. Notice that I said could. There is the natural consequence of the delight that comes in fulfilling a requirement, the sense of accomplishment that comes when we successfully finish a task. But, there could be other consequences. In the workplace, when you show good work ethic, and consistency in managing your job it could result in higher pay, or a promotion. 

So helping our teens to see that every decision they make, every attitude they approach their tasks with, will result in consequences. Making good decisions, leads to good consequences, while making poor decisions, even ones of forgetfulness, leads to negative consequences. We’ll do them no favors by coddling them through the next few years. We’ll do them no favors by veiling the realities of life. It’s far better to mentor them through those consequences so they have a good understanding of cause and effect as it relates to their personal life. 

  • Waking up on time
  • Going to bed routines
  • How to plan your day
  • Understanding basics of employment requirements, such as arriving on time, dressing for success, etc. (I’ll talk more about this tomorrow).
  • Weekly schedules
  • Monthly schedules
  • Utilizing a time management calendar, planner, or app
  • Decision making skills
  • Managing consequences
  • Mindfulness and focus skills

I discovered these mindfulness games and activity cards for helping kids learn focus skills.

5 Blogs to Read for Teaching Time Management

Personal Care

Personal care involves more than just taking care of oneself. It’s about ensuring that their own needs are met through self-advocacy, balancing needs versus wants, developing healthy habits, and understanding ones own self will.

  • Personal safety
  • Understanding self-will
  • Self-worth
  • Building Confidence
  • Decision making skills
  • Maneuvering medical needs
    • First-aid 
    • Understanding medication, over the counter & prescription
    • Knowing their medical history
    • How to make medical appointments
    • Understanding their reproductive systems
    • Self-advocacy

Teaching Personal Care Life Skills to Gifted Teens | Renée at Great Peace #ihsnet #gifted


  • Personal Hygiene
    • Body care
      • Healthy eating
        • Nutritional needs
        • Healthy choices
      • Exercise
      • Healthy habits
        • Bathing
        • Hair care
        • Hand washing
        • Blowing nose
        • Cleaning ears
    • Personal grooming
      • Shaving
      • Oral health 
      • Trimming nails
      • Keeping feet healthy
    • Buying clothes
      • Dressing appropriately for different occasions

Resources for teaching personal hygiene


Developing Spiritual Skills

In our family spiritual needs are of paramount importance. Our life goal is heaven. So we strive to live in a way that our entire lives are focused on that goal. To those who aren’t Christians this may seem weird. That’s o.k. my aim isn’t to please all the people all the time. I believe many who read my blog regularly have some religious foundation, thus, these tips and resources will be of benefit to that readership. 

If you aren’t religious, some of these tips will still apply because whether you are a Christian or not we are all living beings and our spirits, or emotional selves have needs that we need to nurture and develop. 

Teaching Personal Spiritual Care Life Skills to Gifted Teens | Renée at Great Peace #ihsnet #gifted


Areas of Emotional Development

It’s the reality that individuals that have gifted and talented abilities also struggle with emotional intensity. I would like to be able to say that as they grow up, they grow out of this. But, I don’t think that’s really true. I try to remember that the same brain that works at faster speeds cognitively controls the emotional responses that they experience. Therefore, emotional responses are also fired at rapid speed. But I’m a firm believer that we can teach our children good coping skills to help them manage their intensity.

Here are some areas to consider as they grow older. 

  • Identifying emotions
  • Understanding their own emotions
  • Stress management – find tips here: Helping Teens Manage Stress by Room 213
  • Knowing how to seek and maintain emotional well-being
  • Recognizing depression
  • Safe ways to express emotions
  • Learning how to seek help for emotional well-being

Areas of Spiritual Development

Spiritual development is something entirely different. I believe we are spiritual beings created by the Creator God, who is Himself a spirit. I approach teaching my son in a way that allows him to come to his own understanding of truth but I do strive to lay a foundation of understanding so he can make his own choice. The way that I do this is to consider many worldviews, but then we examine those views by the standard of the Bible. 

Once he has a chance to see both sides of a point of view, he then draws his own conclusions. 

  • Study & Reflection of God’s Word
  • Understanding & acknowledgement of sin
  • Prayer
  • Repentance & Obedience
  • Accountability
  • Relationships with other like-minded people

Interpersonal Skills

Let’s face it. For many gifted individuals interpersonal skills can be difficult. There are many reasons for this. Part of it is because society expects everyone to present themselves a certain way and anyone who isn’t typical doesn’t quite fit with the larger societal group. But, changing society’s perception isn’t something we can accomplish in an overnight. Seriously, I wish it were different. 

Therefore, we must teach our children how to interact in a world in which they might not quite fit. You know, the proverbial square peg in a round hole reference. But… while our gifted teens might appear to be that square peg, it’s up to us to help them learn to maneuver the society in which they live. If we don’t, we’ll do them a disservice leaving them to flounder on their own as adults.

He’s totally comfortable talking with older people. He’s totally comfortable talking to kids who are several years younger than he it. He’s a very confident person for the most part. I thoroughly enjoy his sense of humor, he’s clever and sensitive, and kind. He also can get incredibly focused on himself at times.

      • Good social skills and manners
        • Etiquette in different situations
      • Preparing for Courting/Dating
        • Understanding sexual desire, and what is and is not appropriate
      • Developing & maintaining friendships
        • Explore and pursue hobbies, recreational interests and activities to meet like-minded people
        • Handling peer pressure
        • Respecting the opinions of others
      • Submitting to and respecting authority figures
        employers, police and other government officials, leaders in the church, etc.

Communication Skills to Teach

This is one area where my son needs improvement. He’s good at approaching others, and even being respectful for the most part. He struggles to communicate his thoughts efficiently. I think this is one of the reasons why he struggles so much with writing assignments. I’m a firm believer in practice makes experience and experience makes for confidence.

I discovered this YouTube channel, Communication Skills for Kids and Teens,  by Tracy Goodwin, internationally known communication expert. Her channel is filled with videos teaching communication skills and she does so in a simple, effective way. I’ve decided to use these as part of our homeschool curriculum this year coupled with Etiquette for the Socially Savvy Teen Lesson Plans by Rebecca Black.

Verbal Skills

      • Talking to Strangers
        Assign tasks when you are out and about. Perhaps at the grocery send him to ask a clerk where to find something. Have him go into the post office to buy stamps while you wait in the car. Send him to camp in the summer without you there. 
      • Talking to Acquaintances
        Practice, practice, practice. Set
      • Phone Skills
      • Diction, and projection
      • Formal & informal communication
      • Speaking with confidence
      • Developing your own voice
      • Handling difficult situations
      • Ordering at a Restaurant
      • Ordering on a phone
      • Make important phone calls
      • How to talk to important people, such as; police, judges, bank personnel, doctors, etc. 
      • How to ask questions of people in various situations

Written Skills

It’s scary to think about how much our written world has changed in 30 years time. Writing letters, while not obsolete, is not nearly as prevalent in today’s society as it was 50 years ago. And telephone communication has mostly been reduced to texting. Preparing our teens, especially early teens for entering the world of written communication can be scary. So much of what’s online is public and once it’s out there, it’s out there. 

Safety is one of the most important aspects when introducing our teens, gifted or not, to online social media, and even just texting. I’m a firm believer in monitoring everything. I don’t care if they want their privacy. There is a time and place for privacy. But as a responsible parent I believe it’s more important to give our kids safety than it is to give them privacy. 

Ok, so some areas where we need to teach written communication skills includes, but is definitely not limited to the following.

      • Writing letters/cards
      • Ordering products online
      • Emailing
      • Texting
      • Social Media
        • Understanding appropriate online communication
        • Friending/unfriending etiquette
        • Making good decisions about online relationship
        • Online personal safety
        • Public awareness of online communities
        • Understanding longevity of posting online
        • Hangouts, voice texts, video texts
      • Blogging & Other Websites
      • YouTube

Parenting gifted children isn’t easy, parenting gifted teens won’t be either, but it’s the perfect time to help launch them into adulthood successfully. It’s going to take time, effort, and patience. But helping them develop the routines, and thought processes now are foundational life skills they’ll use throughout their lifetime.

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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