Life lessons: 12 things kids should probably know how to do by the time they turn 12 7 months ago

Life lessons: 12 things kids should probably know how to do by the time they turn 12

Because we all want to raise capable adults, no?

It's a tough balance, trying to at the same time be a caring parent who helps their kids navigate life, yet also raising them to be able to fend for themselves and be responsible, functioning adults by the time they leave the nest.

Today's Parent polled their readers earlier this year and put together 30 things every 12-year-old should be able to do, and here are just some of those:

1. Cook for themselves

Domestic Goddess and mum of two, Nigella Lawson, had her kids practice and perfect one dish at a time until they had a repertoire of five to leave home with.

2. Watch over a younger child for brief stints

(With or without an adult in the room.)

3. Maintain a calendar

By 12, your kid can keep track of their own social engagements, field trips, assignments, and loved ones’ birthdays, thank you very much.


4. Display basic good manners

Even in the computer age, it’s vital to be able to look someone in the eye when meeting them and offer a firm yet friendly handshake.

5. Take responsibility for basic household chores

Kids without significant physical challenges at this age can shovel snow, take out garbage and recycling, and load the dishwasher—properly—for starters.

6. Keep a pet or plant alive

Caring for another living thing teaches responsibility and compassion. Hammy the hamster may also provide a child’s first valuable experience of grief and loss, which brings us to…

7. React in an emergency

Even little kids can dial 911, but by 12, your kid should be able to locate a first aid kit and administer some very basic first aid and know how to use the fire extinguisher.


8. Manage their allowance

By 12 kids need their own bank account. It’s also time to start chipping in toward their own cell phone or saving up for the little extras they want.

9. Get themselves up and ready for school on time

Bonus points if they also manage to pack their own lucnh and make their own bed.

10. Take responsibility for their homework

Let the kid paint their own damn baking soda volcano.

11. Clean their own room

No dirty-dish or sock-stashing under the bed allowed.

12. Cope with getting lost

You should draw up a plan with them, which should include an emergency meeting place, a list of local police stations and other safe places to go to, such as libraries, doctor’s offices, security and information desks; phone numbers to call.

What do you think of this list, parents? Do you agree with these, or think some of these are too advanced for a 12-year-old? Have you any to add? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @herfamilydotie