10 Things Children Should Learn to Do by Themselves Before They Turn 13

According to some psychologists, the teenage years start when a child is from 9 years old to 13 years old and it's a transition period from attachment parenting to detachment parenting when parents should allow their children to grow and be independent. To make this transition smooth, parents should help their child acquire some essential life skills by the age of 13.

Bright Side made a list of crucial life skills all children should be able to do by themselves by the time they are 13 years old. Read this list up to the very end to find out how to raise a successful individual.

1. Earn and manage money

You can teach your kids some basic financial skills as early as when they learn how to count. By the age of 13, children should be able to save money from their weekly allowance, be aware of how much basic household things cost, understand the difference between debit and credit cards, and be able to make decisions about spending and saving.

2. Do basic household chores

According to psychology specialists, children can already do a lot of chores at an early age, like cleaning up after dinner or gathering their clothes during laundry time. By the age of 13, they should be able to iron their clothes, unload the dishwasher, change their bedsheets, wash a car, clean a bathroom, and tidy up a kitchen. Parents should be consistent and specific with their requests and should encourage their children.

3. Prepare meals

Cooking is an important skill your children will need when they turn into adults and there are plenty of easy recipes for starters, like sandwiches, scrambled eggs, pasta, soup, and salads. By the age of 13, children should be able to plan a family meal, follow a simple recipe, and be able to work with kitchen equipment. Don't forget to teach your kids about hygiene and safety basics.

4. Grocery shopping

Taking your children grocery shopping with you will help them develop such essential skills as writing out a meal plan, writing a grocery list, and sticking to the budget by the time they turn into teenagers. Teach them how to read nutrition labels and how to find good deals. Don't forget to set limits: a study from the University of Kansas showed that 50% of young children who accompany their parents to the supermarket ask them to buy something and only 50% of parents manage to resist.

5. Personal hygiene

Experts admit that many parents assume that their 10-year-old or 11-year-old kids will learn about hygiene naturally. But, in fact, there are many things parents should discuss with their kids before it's too late: the importance of showering daily, using deodorant, changing clothes, shaving, oral hygiene, and understanding their own body. Remember to be a good role model yourself, and always explain to your kids why they need to do certain things.

6. Basic first aid

Basic first aid skills will empower your children to help themselves when they are hurt and when nobody is around. In the UK, the Red Cross advocates the inclusion of first aid education in school curricula. Some studies demonstrated that 4-year-old to 5-year-old children are already able to memorize the correct emergency telephone number, correctly assess a person's breathing, and memorize the correct recovery positions. Some skills for older kids include the ability to stop bleeding and to treat burns and bee stings.

7. Time management

Time management skills are essential: your teen should be able to plan, prioritize, and work productively. Try to offer your kids some tools that could help them be more efficient, like phone alerts or special calendars. Remember that deciding what to do and when to do it becomes much easier when you write it down. Give them a watch as a present, help them manage distractions, and, as always, provide a good example.

8. Social skills and manners

It's important to teach your children manners as soon as possible. For younger kids, start by your own example, encourage them to share, be polite, and respect the elderly. Events at home are a good time to teach your kids how to be a good host and explain table manners to them. And don't forget that in modern society, digital etiquette is as important as "offline" manners.

Getting into the habit of following proper etiquette will assist your children in their daily life when they turn into teenagers, will help them succeed in their careers, and will help them fit in better with their peers.

9. Navigate nearby areas

It is possible that your teenagers will be driving a car or traveling by themselves in a few years; therefore, it is important that they are able to understand how to use a navigation tool and how to read a map. By the age of 13, children should be able to memorize directions and read map symbols and orient themselves. There are plenty of resources online that will help make map reading fun.

10. Emotion regulation skills

Not only teenagers, but also many adults lack the ability to accept and control their emotions, such as anger, stress, and anxiety. Emotion regulation skills include the ability to identify feelings, understand the situation, manage emotions, and seek help when needed. The realization that feeling sad is not a sign of weakness and that emotions can aid in handling situations will help your kids in their later life.

Would you add any other essential skills that kids should learn before they turn 13? Share your opinions, experiences, and parenting tips in the comments!

Illustrated by Natalia Tylosova for Bright Side
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