We try to prepare our kids for the world. We get through all the academics. We take them to sports, dance, music lessons, chess club. We do the field trips. Sometimes, it seems like certain skills slip through the cracks.
Life skills are important. I don’t want my kids let loose in the world without some proper basics.
Sometimes, books are the best teacher. Sure, you can learn really everything on YouTube and other Internet sites, but having some reference material is always a good idea.
These make great graduation gifts too!
My top five life skills books for teens:
A Good Cookbook
My suggestion: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book
Since 1930, home cooks have turned to Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book for guidance in the kitchen. This new edition includes more than 1,200 recipes, 1,000 color photos, and more tips and how-to information than ever. Teens and young adults need to know more than how to make a box of mac and cheese! I still have my grandmother’s copy!
An Etiquette Book
My suggestion: How Rude!: The Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior, and Not Grossing People Out by Alex J. Packer
In 480 pages, this edition describes the basics of polite behavior in all kinds of situations at home, in school, online, and in the world. I grew up with Emily Post and Miss Manners. This approach might be more interesting!
A Leadership Book
My suggestion: What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead by Dennis Trittin
The book is organized into nine powerful chapters and 109 life success pointers that build leadership skills and prepare readers for key upcoming life decisions. Through stories and instruction, it helps young people develop a healthy life perspective, model strong character, build and sustain new relationships, overcome adversity, and become productive and wise decision makers. Also, it shares powerful strategies to succeed in college, career, family, and finances. This is just a great leadership book with words of wisdom.
A Health Book
My suggestions for GIRLS:
Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen’s Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body by Toni Weschler
Answers that will help you understand what is really happening with your body on a day-to-day basis. It’s the first book specifically designed to teach young women about the practical benefits of charting their cycles. Explore the fascinating world of ovulation, fertility, and why you even have periods at all! And learn all about the body signals, mood changes, and other signs that accompany your cycle. This book was recommended to us by a doula friend of mine and it is wonderful!
Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular by Mayim Bialik
Growing up as a girl in today’s world is no easy task. Juggling family, friends, romantic relationships, social interests and school…sometimes it feels like you might need to be a superhero to get through it all! But really, all you need is little information.
Want to know why your stomach does a flip-flop when you run into your crush in the hallway? Or how the food you put in your body now will affect you in the future? What about the best ways to stop freaking out about your next math test?
Using scientific facts, personal anecdotes, and wisdom gained from the world around us, Mayim Bialik, the star of The Big Bang Theory, shares what she has learned from her life and her many years studying neuroscience to tell you how you grow from a girl to a woman biologically, psychologically and sociologically.
And as an added bonus, Girling Up is chock-full of charts, graphs and illustrations — all designed in a soft gray to set them apart from the main text and make them easy to find and read.
Want to be strong? Want to be smart? Want to be spectacular? You can! Start by reading this book.
My suggestion for BOYS (reader recommendation!): Lintball Leo’s Not-So-Stupid Questions About Your Body by
“Everything a boy should know, but won’t ask!” Finally, everything you wanted to know about your body, but you’ve just been too chicken to ask. This is the first book for boys that gives honest answers to real questions about your body from a biblical perspective. No, you’re not falling apart—you’re just growing up! But there’s no need to fear, when Lintball Leo is near. He’s your personal guide to understanding your body. With information about everything from steroid use to body parts, there’s not a question Lintball Leo hasn’t heard. These aren’t questions some adult made up, but they’re real questions asked by real boys just like you. You want to know the truth? Now you can, because Lintball Leo’s Not–So-Stupid Questions About Your Body gives you the facts—no holds barred! I plan to get this for my son real soon.
Another reader recommendation for boys:
Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys by Cara Natterson
This book will provide you with the answers that will help you take care of yourself better, from hair care to healthy eating, bad breath to shaving, acne to voice changes, and everything in between. With tips, how-tos, and facts from a real pediatrician, it’s the perfect book to help you learn about your body’s changes.
Boying Up: How to Be Brave, Bold and Brilliant by Mayim Bialik
Why does my voice crack like that? What should I eat to build muscle? How do I talk to someone I have a crush on? What do I do if someone calls me names or bullies me?
Growing from a boy to a man is no easy task. Bodies are changing, social circles are evolving, hair is appearing in places it never was before — and on top of it all, there’s the ever-present pressure to conform to the typical idea of what it means to be “manly” and masculine. But it’s easier to do if you’re armed with facts.
Using personal anecdotes as an overly observant mother of two boys and plenty of scientific information from her life as a neuroscientist, Mayim Bialik, PhD, star of The Big Bang Theory, talks directly to teen boys about what it means to grow from a boy to a man biologically, psychologically, and sociologically. Using the same cool, fun, and friendly tone that she took in Girling Up, Mayim takes boys–and their parents!–through the challenges and triumphs of Boying Up today.
In six sections (How Boys Bodies Work; How Boys Grow; How Boys Learn; How Boys Cope; How Boys Love; and How Boys Make a Difference), she takes a look at what it means for boys to come of age in today’s world, how can they take control of their paths, and what can they do to help shape the types of futures they want for themselves.
An Organization Book
My suggestion: Smart but Scattered Teens: The “Executive Skills” Program for Helping Teens Reach Their Potential by Richard Guare, Peg Dawson, Colin Guare
This positive guide provides a science-based program for promoting teens’ independence by building their executive skills–the fundamental brain-based abilities needed to get organized, stay focused, and control impulses and emotions. It’s great to work through together! This book is helpful to set up organization methods for teens to be independent.