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Set Your Kids Free

The independence issue is a debate that every household experiences at some point or the other. This phase, most often, reaches its peak around the time the kids reach the teenage years-basically when they reach middle school. This is the time when it is important to realise that there are a few things that can be expected from the kids while others that they can rely on their parents for. Here is a list of ten things that your kids need to be able to do on their own by middle school:

1. Arrange for a makeshift meal

It is ridiculous to expect your kids to be able to make an entire meal on their own. There are so many adults who cannot do that. However, when it comes to arranging for a meal for the time being, they should be able to do so. If the parents are stuck up at work or in an important meeting, a kid in middle school should not find himself in a fix. Instead, he should be able to ensure that he does not go hungry, say, by making a sandwich or noodles. They need to know basic kitchen work to ensure that they can feed themselves, if need be.

2. Wake up on their own

Most of us prefer that one of our parents wake up us up rather than an alarm that we will end up turning off and going back to sleep. This does not mean that we will not be able to do so, if need arises. The first step towards independence for a middle school child is his ability to wake up in the morning without the help of his guardian. Doing the very first thing in your day on your own gives you a sense of inexplicable satisfaction and is extremely essential in overall personality growth.

3. Save from pocket money

The importance of savings must be cultivated in kids from a very early age since it is an indispensable life skill even in the long-run. Parents are different and accordingly, many school students may or may not get regular pocket money. Either way, the underlying idea is to cultivate the habit of thrift among them. At the middle school level, kids must be able to understand that a part of their money, either from monthly allowance or gifts, must be kept aside in anticipation of a future emergency.

4. Talk to unknown people

Childhood is that period where our social interactions are completely regulated by our parents. Whether it is a distant relative or a stranger you meet at a party, your parents are always there to introduce you to them. However, by the time kids are in middle school, they face a variety of social situations in the absence of their parents. As such, they must be able to interact with strangers or unknown people, break the ice and strike up a conversation to meet their requirements.

5. Manage with public transportation

Public transportation and being able to use it forms an integral part of our daily lives. In an uncertain situation, where you cannot rely on your own vehicle for commuting, it is essential to know how to use public transport for survival. Obviously, middle school students are not allowed to drive on their own yet and that is why it is essential for them to learn how to use public transportation effectively.

6. Focus on academics without being told

Studies are an integral part of student life-in fact, even the most emphasised part. Till about primary school, it is a parent’s duty to ensure that the child realises the importance of academics. However, beyond that point, it must be a child’s prerogative to make sure that they focus on studies, without their parents screaming and shouting at them (or sometimes even bribing them!)

7. Go grocery shopping

A middle school child must essentially be able to help out with household chores. It is a kid’s responsibility to assist in reducing the parent’s burden when it comes to household responsibilities. One such important duty is being able to go grocery shopping. A middle school child is more than able to go to the local grocery store and buy the basic ingredients required at home. Another aspect of this involves being able to understand and execute basic monetary transactions.

8. Make plans with friends

Friendship and peer groups are the most dominating groups during middle school. It is imperative that kids be able function well in these groups without parental interference. When parents begin to regulate social relations of kids, it often results in some sort of friction. To avoid such a situation, a middle school child must be able to make plans with his friends, on his own. So try and give him a little space and forgive the first few failed attempts because the tables will turn soon enough.

9. Put their point across

This is the time when kids begin to form their own opinions and ideas. They may not have mature understanding or a realistic view of things but in any case, what matters is that they should be able to put their point across. The key is not whether they can impact you with their conviction but rather that they can just communicate what their idea of right and wrong is. So let them speak up and allow them to form their own ideals instead of forcing yours on to them.

10. Prioritise

Time management and organisational skills are a very late development and require tonnes of experience and effort. However, what is easier in comparison, is to prioritise. We are not saying that your child should be able to perfectly balance each aspect of his academic, co-curricular and extracurricular activities but he should be able to choose which one to do first and why. If there is an upcoming test the next week and a repeat telecast of their favourite programme during their stipulated study time, they must be able to make a wise decision as to what is important in the here and now.

This is why middle school age can be a tricky one because it is the beginning of independence for kids. At the same time, it is important, on your part, to let them know that such freedom comes with major responsibility!