We have to let our kids have some freedom and part of that is making them do things on their own. If we don’t, we are not letting them deal with problems on their own. (Are you planning on living in their dorm room with them?) Believe or not, I’ve heard of kids coming back home from college because they couldn’t handle it: going to class, feeding yourself, working, studying (aka becoming an adult was too much) We cannot be “hovering” over every aspect of their lives. Here are a few things that I am starting to make them do on their own now in order to help them in the future:
1. Biking on their own. I’m not saying let them bike miles on their own but do let them bike with friend around town, get lost and call for help. (Yep, it’s happened to me!) Guess what? They have phones and can use their GPS to figure out how to get home!
2. Make them order their own food at counter or in a full service restaurant. My kids have been dumbfounded because they actually have to talk to get what they want. They become tongue tied when I say “Go and do it yourself!”
3. Learn to use the phone. Not smartphone, I mean use the phone to talk to someone. I’ve noticed that kids are “master texters” but when it comes to asking anyone for help or using a phone it’s like their first time using their voice! “Uh, hello?” (Even when I call!) Obviously, they did not grow up in an era when you cherished a long extension cord into your room to talk to your friends!
4. Make their own lunches. As long as they have a sandwich and water, I’m not concerned about what else they put in the lunchbox. I’ll make them eat some veggies at dinner. It’s been such a time saver in the mornings because I don’t have to pack 3 lunches anymore!
5. Solve their own problems. Got into a fight with your friend? Yes, you can talk to me about it and I can offer advice BUT I’m not going to call the mom to discuss it (I’m talking about middle school and above) Resolve it with your friend. Same with teachers: talk to them first about your grades, why you got that grade, what you can do to improve your grade, etc. MAKE THEM ACCOUNTABLE!
6. Speaking of grades, do your own homework. I mean not get together on FaceTime w your friends and do it together. (Yep, you can get in trouble too!) Parents, don’t do their homework for them either! (I’ve heard of parents writing their kids college papers! ?) You already learned it in school and now it’s time for your kid to learn it!
7. Doing chores around the house. I don’t pay my kids to do chores because I think that it is part of their job living in the house. I know parents that pay their kids and that’s fine too because the end result is the same: You need to clean and straighten up your household.
8. Using their own money to pay for things. My kids get money from birthdays or good grades but ask a kid to use their “own money” and see how fast they change their mind on said item. They need to understand the value of a dollar. It’s easy to spend and hard to earn..
9. Volunteering. Kids need to understand there are people less fortunate than them. We’ve made cheese sandwiches through church, donated clothes to charity, put toiletry kits together, etc. These things you won’t get paid for in life but you need to give to others of your time.
10. Grit. Meaning that rewards often come with struggles. In order to get better at anything, you have to practice and persevere. It won’t be easy. (Tough teacher and studying harder to get good grades, practicing on your own to get better at a sport or instrument) Recent studies have shown that this grit trait is often linked more to successful people than intelligence.
I’m sure I could add another 100 items to this list but this is what I think that they need to know now. Did I miss anything? What would you add to this list?