By LORI MELTON
Life is unpredictable and it’s probably impossible to be totally equipped to handle every situation that comes your way. However, there are some common and important “life skills” to master as you make that rite of passage from childhood to adulthood. Here’s a look at seven essential ones.
Basic First Aid
Accidents happen and it’s important to be prepared instead of panicked. Do you know how to clean a cut or wound? Do you know how to treat a sprain? Or how to recognize the signs of a heart attack, stroke or concussion? These are important skills and in some cases, could save your life or someone else’s. Look for a book or a local first aid course. The Red Cross offers a great course in first aid and CPR. Click here for more information.
Do you have phone numbers to police, the fire station and doctors posted and easily accessible in the event of an emergency? Do you know what to do if a tornado hits? Do you have a home fire safety/evacuation plan? Do you have a “power out” storm kit – like a flashlight, batteries, bottled water, a cell phone with a cordless charger and a battery-powered radio?
Being prepared for different kinds of unexpected catastrophes can be very helpful if and when disaster strikes. You may want to write down your plans, gather supplies and keep them in a designated accessible place.
Changing a Flat Tire
If you drive a car, knowing how to change a flat tire is a very important skill. Sure, there are plenty of roadside assistance services out there, like AAA for example. Let’s say, though, in the worst case scenario your cell phone is dead and you’re in the middle of nowhere with a flat. Knowing how to change the tire can save you a lot of time and stress in trying to find help. There are lots of YouTube videos out there that show you how to change a tire.
Driving in the Snow
If you live in a four-season state, learning how to drive in the snow is critical. Blizzards and ice storms can crop up in a minute. Do you know what to do if a snow storm blows in during your daily commute? Obviously, if you don’t feel confident driving in adverse conditions, you should pull safely to the side of the road when possible and wait it out. But, there are some very important maneuvers to remember if you are going to forge ahead and get to your destination. AAA posts a good list of winter driving tips on its website.
Unclogging a Toilet/Sink
Knowing how to unclog a sink or a toilet is an essential household skill no one enjoys using. However, it’s one that saves you a lot of money in plumbing fees. For most clogged toilets, a plunger will be your tool of choice. Sink clogs can sometimes be handled with liquid drain cleaner and sometimes you’ll have to clear the trap in the pipes. There are a lot of how-to YouTube videos out there on clearing clogs. A quick Google search should pull up several.
Knowing how to mop floors, do dishes, clean your bathroom, your kitchen, change sheets and do laundry are essential skills for living out on your own. Sure, household chores are mundane. However, keeping a clean, organized living space will not only give you peace of mind but it will also help eradicate household germs. Just remember, the pile of dirty clothes is only going to get bigger and not many people have the money to just replace dirty clothes with brand new clean ones. Staying on top of the laundry will also help reduce clutter.
Keeping a Budget
Starting and sticking to a budget is a key life skill that will help give you financial stability. Understanding your finances is a big part of setting your budget. How much money do you bring in each month? What is the total of your monthly bills like rent, utilities, cell phone bill, car payment, etc.? Once you know what your net income is, you can plan a budget that suits it. Amazon has a lot of books on the topic, if you’re looking for specific guidance.