Your child is starting to grow up. This is a big thing for the billions of parents out there. How do you start to raise self-reliant children? Don’t automatically assume they aren’t ready to take on additional responsibility even if you think you know your children the best.

Even if it takes longer than you’d want to leave home or sit down for dinner, allowing your toddler to tie his shoes and your first-grader to set the table has a lot of advantages. You no longer have to do everything for them, and you can take on the role of supervisor.

We’re continually astounded by how much they can accomplish when given age-appropriate jobs and activities.

Allowing your children more autonomy and latitude is easy when you follow this criteria.

From Pre-Kindergarten to high school

Organize a drop-off playdate.

This is a great method to give your children a break from your constant supervision as a parent. If your kid is already attending school a few days a week and has already made some new friends, she may be ready to enroll in kindergarten. When in doubt, go out with a friend from your neighborhood. This way, if things don’t go well, you can quickly get out of there.

Preschool and up

Use a knife.

Involving your children in food preparation at an early age encourages them to make healthy choices, whose own children were spreading peanut butter with a knife before starting elementary school. A few weeks ago, her 6-year-old son requested if he could cut a baguette with a serrated knife while she watched. Both of you gained self-assurance as a result.

As of the age of four and up

Any camp, sleepaway or not, is better than no camp.

What makes the camp so self-sufficient? There aren’t any parents here! Some children are ready for sleepaway camp at an earlier age than others, but by the time they are between the ages of eight and twelve, most children are ready to attempt it for the first time.

Six years old or older

A couple of blocks on your own.

Some areas of town have a better sense of security than others. A certain subset of children appears to be predisposed to irresponsibility compared to others. Start with allowing your first-grader to play in the front yard alone if you’ve never done so before. Consider making some new acquaintances on your street if you haven’t already. You can send your youngster down the block to a neighbor’s house, perhaps messaging the neighbor’s mother to check out the window the first few times. The next step is to gradually enable your child to walk to school or another regular destination.

As of the age of seven and up

At the grocery store, look ahead of you to see whether there’s anything you need in the next aisle.

In the midst of all this, you’re left to wonder, “Which juice drink will I purchase?” When it comes to him, it’s more than just a mundane task. The Capri Sun flavor he likes best is on your family’s grocery list, so allow him to go ahead of you and pick it out before you get there. Even if you’re only keeping an eye on him from across the aisle, his confidence will increase as he goes to the shelves.

Between the ages of 11 and 14

Take a ride to the mall (or a movie theater or a library) with your friends.

Indeed, this is excellent practice for keeping to a schedule and managing money. However, start small if you’re afraid to take the plunge right now. Visit a movie theater with your junior high schooler’s friends, or take them to the mall where they can spend some energy for an hour. At the food court, you can stay for a cup of coffee if you can’t stand to get up and leave.

 18 years old

Sending kids to school is the best course of action.

Wah!

This too is one of the best ways to go if you’re wondering how to raise self-reliant children.