When it comes to raising children to become responsible, independent adults, the transition to middle school is an important milestone in that journey. Those at this stage who were once in need of much care and guidance are now poised to take on increasing responsibilities as they continue along the road to self-sufficiency. But what exactly can we expect our children to be able to do at this stage?
Here are 5 things children should be able to do on their own by the time they reach middle school:
Get Ready for School
By the start of middle school, children should be able to carry out their own morning routine, including setting the alarm clock in order to get out of bed on time, picking out their clothes, washing and dressing for school. At this age, they are also capable of preparing a simple breakfast and packing lunch for themselves. To get them to own these activities, help them establish a routine that empowers them to carry out these tasks independently.
Do Their Homework
At this age, children need to be given the opportunity to manage their homework on their own. Support their efforts by providing the space and resources necessary and help them establish a homework routine. While they may need a bit more guidance at the start of each new school year to ensure they understand what is expected of them, once the expectations are established give them the freedom to take responsibility for their own learning.
Manage Their Classwork and Assignments
Learning to communicate with people in more powerful positions is an important life skill, and giving children the opportunity to get clarification on assignments or to ask a question or for some help allows them to practice this skill. Rather than stepping in when it may not necessarily be warranted, support your children by helping them rehearse what they might say to the teacher.
Assist With Household Responsibilities
To support their efforts to become more self-sufficient, get your children involved in chores around the house, such as cooking and cleaning. This can help lighten the load for you, allow your children to master essential life skills, and give them a sense of pride knowing they have positively contributed to the family. And, if you don’t already do so, consider looking into ways to offer your children an allowance in conjunction with these tasks to help them learn how to handle money.
Choose How They Spend Their Time
Encouraging children at this age to try new things is a great way to help children discover their interests and develop their talents. Rather than taking the lead in choosing activities simply because they will help them as adults or look good on a college application, give your children the chance to decide upon their own extra-curricular and enrichment activities based on their interests.
Setting the expectation that your children are capable of carrying out these responsibilities and giving them the opportunity to do so can not only help ease the transition into middle school, but can also prepare them to take on increasing responsibilities that will prepare them for high school, college and beyond.