Practical Life Skills Workbook for Teens – Challenge your Teen with “Ready” by Roopa Pai

The summer vacations are here.

Most teen parents I know – are confident that their children are just going to waste their holidays. They are sure that their children will wake up late – and settle in front of the laptop or TV – with a bowl of junk food for the rest of the day.

As good parents – they don’t want that to happen, they want their teens to use this time for developing essential life skills for personal development. But they don’t know how to do that.

The teens and the preteens I know on the other hand – are very excited about their holidays. The last thing they want to do – is waste time watching TV or playing games on the laptop. Every cool teen wants to do something fantastic and exciting….something challenging….that will make them feel accomplished and capable at the end of the month. But they have no idea what to do.

Can these vacations be used constructively? The answer is “YES”.

what should teens do this summer

What should teens do this summer

What are the life skills for youth?

Life skills are those skills that teens will need to be safe, self-sufficient and successful as adults. Challenge your teen to learn these life skills this summer. We have a challenge running on our website that parents and teens are taking up this summer – come join us – be part of the challenge

Scroll to the bottom of this post for details of the “Become a WoCoTeen this summer” Challenge

Is there a teenage life skills checklist?

Yes there is. And that checklist has been compiled by amazing author Roopa Pai in her book ‘Ready! 99 Must-Have Skills For The World-Conquering Teenager (and Almost-Teenager)’

About the Book

“Ready! 99 Must-Have Skills For The World-Conquering Teenager (and Almost-Teenager)”

ready by roopa pai

Ready by Roopa Pai

Roopa Pai’s book is a teen practical life skills workbook that describes TWENTY FOUR areas in which your teen can build life skills and become a WoCoTeen or a World Conquering Teenager.

The book has a series of challenges that the teen takes up that equip her/him with every possible life skill teens need. From how to stay safe online – to how to become an entrepreneur to how to cook a basic meal – the book teaches all. And for every challenge accomplished there is a badge to be won. The badges are right there on the last pages of the book.

If you have been looking for a life skills book for young adults – I would recommend this one.

I reached out Roopa Pai last month and I was thrilled when she graciously accepted to write an introduction to ‘Ready! 99 Must-Have Skills For The World-Conquering Teenager (and Almost-Teenager)’ for all us Parents.

Do you want a World Conquering Teenager (WoCoTeen) in the house this summer? Plunge into the “Become a WoCoTeen this Summer Challenge” with running on all our social media channels. Details also available at the end of this article


How would you like your children to spend their summer vacations this year? By attending yet another round of hobby classes in the neighborhood for a couple of weeks and spending the rest of the time watching television? Or by taking on and cracking 99 challenges that will teach them 99 valuable skills for life while having loads of fun with a hand-picked squad of friends? If your answer is the latter, read on for how you can make this happen. 

If I asked you to pick ONE quality that you would like to inculcate in your children before they turned into adults, what would you pick? Take a few minutes over this, or a day if you like, because this is an important question. Make a list – make many lists, if you need to – of all the qualities you want your child to have, and then pare, prune, strip the list down to the bare essentials.

Done? Did you pick Kindness, or Contentment, or Self-Confidence, or Respect For All Creatures? Strip it down further. Ask yourself what is at the heart of all these qualities. What makes it possible for us to be kind, or respectful of others, or confident? What makes it possible for us to be content, which is a quality far more important, and long-lasting, than happiness?

I believe the answer is self-love. Let me explain. Like everything else, the most important things begin ‘at home’. In other words, if we want to change the world, we must start by changing ourselves. Only if we can learn to be kind to ourselves, respect ourselves, and most importantly, be content with ourselves as we are, can we love, respect and accept everyone else.

How can we teach our children to love themselves? Self-love is a difficult, abstract concept to teach in words – it is better if we show our children, by being role models for self-love, but how do we do that when most of us struggle with it ourselves?? That’s why we have to think of other routes to help them get there – fun routes that will engage them mentally, physically and emotionally and take them towards self-love, without them ever realising it.

And that is what my new book ‘Ready! 99 Must-Have Skills For The World-Conquering Teenager (and Almost-Teenager)’ is all about. The book speaks directly to children, so all you have to do is give your kids a copy (after you’ve sneakily browsed the book yourself and figured out, much to your horror, that you don’t have half those skills yourself! I tell all the kids I meet that I wrote this book to inspire myself to learn these skills – and that is nothing but the plain and honest truth).

what should teens know about cyber safety

What should teens know about cyber safety

Ready! is inspired by the legendary Scouts and Guides Movement, founded over a 100 years ago by the much-decorated British army officer Robert Baden-Powell. Ready! is inspired equally by Mahatma Gandhi and his dream of an egalitarian society where everyone did their own work themselves. Both Baden-Powell and Gandhiji believed most implicitly in teaching children (and adults!) self-reliance – one of the building blocks of self-love. If you can rely on yourself in any situation – whether you are dealing with a clogged kitchen sink or a situation where no one is sure what the right thing to do is – you will soon begin to trust yourself. With that trust will come self-confidence, and that confidence will eventually result in a deep and abiding love for yourself, i.e., self-love. See how that works?

Unfortunately, self-reliance is a virtue that is still uncommon among the urban middle-class in India. Many among us still depend on someone else to clean our toilets, cook our food, drive us around in our own cars, water our gardens, and fix even the smallest thing that goes wrong in our electrical and plumbing systems at home.

Of course we may not have the time to do it all each day, but unless we know how to do those tasks ourselves, unless we know how long it takes and how difficult it is to get those jobs done right – we will never respect the people who do it for us, enough. For one thing, we will pay them less than they deserve. Worse, we will consider them beneath us for not having the education that allows us to have the fancy careers that we do. We will conveniently forget that since we do not have even a fraction of the skills they have, they are actually our superiors in many ways.

The saddest part? We end up passing on our terrible attitudes to our children. We teach them that it’s okay to leave their things lying around for someone else to pick up. We shoo them away from the kitchen because we are afraid they may cut themselves or burn themselves or make a mess.  We drive all the way to school to hand in the lunch or the homework assignment they forgot to take with them. And then we wonder how our kids grew up so irresponsible, so negligent of other people’s needs, so unable to take care of themselves!

what to do if your teen is always angry

What to do if your teen is always angry

Maybe this summer is the time to change all that. Maybe it is time to set your teenagers and almost-teenagers off on their own personal journeys towards self-reliance, self-confidence and eventually, self-love.  If you agree, Ready! may be just the guide you are looking for.

Ready! sets out 99 challenges for kids to crack, based on the 99 skills they are supposed to have mastered before they are accepted into a secret international squad called the WoCoTeen (World-Conquering Teenager) Squad. Cracking different sets of challenges wins them different badges, and there are 24 badges to be won in all, 6 in each of the four sections of the book. Needless to say, the first section is the ‘Personal Development’ section, since all change, all development, begins with you. Once this section has been completed, kids go on to the next circle, ‘Family and Home’ and work towards winning the 6 badges there, followed by the ‘Community’ section, and, last of all, the ‘Great Outdoors’ section.

Badges include the ‘Healthy Human’ badge, the ‘Hobbyist’ badge, and the ‘Entrepreneur’ badge in the Personal Development section, the ‘Housekeeper’, ‘Caregiver’, ‘Cook’ and ‘Handyman’ badges in the Family and Home section, the ‘Citizen’, ‘Volunteer’, and ‘Friend to Animals’ badges in the Community section, and the ‘Naturalist’, ‘Pathfinder’ and ‘Camper’ badges in the Great Outdoors section.

when your teen does not wash underwear

When your teen does not wash underwear

As for the 99 challenges, here’s the kind of thing your kids will have to attempt:

  • The Daily-Fitness Challenge
  • The Learn-to-Disagree-Agreeably Challenge
  • The Cyber-Safety Challenge
  • The Indian-Handicraft Challenge
  • The Wash-Your-Undies Challenge
  • The Cook-An-Indian-Meal Challenge
  • The Identify-The-Dals Challenge
  • The Open-A-Bank-Account Challenge
  • The Explain-India Challenge
  • The Build-Empathy Challenge
  • The Read-A-Map Challenge
  • The Tell-Time-By-The-Sun Challenge

To make it all more fun for the kids, it is recommended that they work on the challenges in squads, (A squad is a group of three or four like-minded friends; if they prefer working alone, that’s perfectly okay too). Every squad needs a squad leader – a fun adult who will supervise their activities, administer challenges, certify that they have been completed to satisfaction, and award badges in a solemn (just kidding!) ceremony.

Does that sound like a fun and productive summer for the kids? If you choose to be the (adult) Squad Leader, rest assured you will have a wonderful time, and learn a lot in the process too.

Are. You. Ready!?

Buy ‘Ready! 99 Must-Have Skills For The World-Conquering Teenager (and Almost-Teenager)’

roopa pai

Roopa Pai

Roopa Pai  is one of India’s best-known writers for children. She has written over 25 books, spanning the gamut from picture books to chapter books, and fiction to non-fiction, on themes as diverse as sci-fi fantasy, popular science, maths, history, economics, philosophy, and life skills. Among her best-known books are India’s first fantasy-adventure series for children, Taranauts, the best-selling So You Want To Know About Economics, which was recommended by former RBI governor, Dr Raghuram Rajan, and the award-winning, much-loved The Gita For Children, which is now on Amazon’s list of 100 Indian Books To Read In A Lifetime.

When she isn’t writing, Roopa leads children and teenagers on history and heritage walks in her beloved Bangalore, as part of her job with BangaloreWalks ( In the past few years, this computer engineer-turned-writer has also turned motivational speaker. Her TEDx talk ‘Decoding the Gita – India’s Book of Answers’ has been viewed over 650,000 times since it first went up a year ago.
The “Become a WoCoTeen this Summer – Challenge” was designed by Noyonika Dutta who is 11 years old and a student of the 7th grade at The Frank Anthony Public School Bangalore. She has arranged the activities recommended by Roopa Pai in Ready! 99 Must-Have Skills For The World-Conquering Teenager (and Almost-Teenager)’ –  into a weekly schedule and split them up into those that need parental help and those that don’t. Noyonika is a regular intern with WPA What Parents Ask and is a huge Roopa Pai fan and recommends the book “Ready” to everyone

Become a WoCoTeen this Summer Challenge

This is a 4 week challenge to mastering all the life skills a Teenager needs

Week 1 – 1st May to 7th May 2018

life skills training for teens week 1

Life skills training for Teens week 1

Week 2 – 8th May to 14th May 2018

life skills training for teens week 2

Life skills training for Teens week 2

Week 3-15th May to 21st May 2018


life skills training for teens week 3

Life skills training for teens week 3

Week 4 -22nd May to 29th May 2018

life skills training for teens week 4

Life skills training for teens week 4

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