School mornings can be a busy and sometimes stressful time when your kids are little. But as they get older, there’s a whole bunch of things they can be doing on their own to help out! Not only does it make your morning run a little smoother, it also helps kids develop necessary life skills, gain confidence and become well-rounded, competent adults. Read on for a list of things they can definitely handle on their own each school day by the time they’re 10.

photo: Woodley Wonderworks via Flickr

1. Get out of bed on their own. When they’re little babies, going in to get your kids out of the crib and up for the day is a sweet moment. But if you’re still going in and waking up your kid long after the wee baby stage, you may want to pass that task over to them. They can—and should be able to—get themselves up for school independently. Each and every day. And if they’re late? It’s not your fault, mom.

2. Get dressed. This sounds pretty obvious, but getting dressed with zero micromanaging from you is key. It may be tempting to check and see if your kids remembered to put on underwear, or if their shirts and pants match, but this is another skill they can totally master on their own. Besides—letting them express themselves with their wardrobe is fun!

3. Make their breakfast. Again, sounds like an easy task. But encouraging your little scholars to make healthy choices and take control of their breakfast from a young age is the best way to help them eat well—plus it frees up your morning!

4. Make their own lunch—or at least help. Younger ones (like kindergarten-aged kids) may need some help with this. But for the most part, getting your kid involved in choosing and making their own lunch means they’ll likely eat the entire thing! It’s also a great opportunity to teach them about balanced diets.

5. Tidy up their own mess. So they’ve made breakfast, packed their lunch… and now there are dishes everywhere! It’s important for kids to know they need to tidy up after themselves as well. This is great for helping them develop important life skills.

6. Keep track of their library books/homework, etc. If it’s library day and suddenly your kid’s book is missing, it’s not your job to find it. They’re definitely old enough by now to keep track of all their own things—including where they left their homework.

7. Pack their school bag. Kids will sometimes tell their teachers “Oh, my mom forgot to pack <insert various item here> in my backpack today.” And teachers generally respond with “Did your mom forget it? Or did you?” Gotcha, kid! If they need to remember something, they need to put it in their bag themselves.

8. Decide what outerwear they’ll need that day. Arguments over appropriate footwear and outerwear for all types of temperatures is never fun. Let your kids decide if they need that spare pair of mittens in the winter. One cold, wet, miserable day without them and they’ll likely make good decisions!

9. Brush their teeth. Despite needing a billion and one reminders when they’re little, as they get older, kids should really be able to remember to brush their teeth—and do it properly—before each school day.

10. Get out the door on time. Getting out the door seems to be one of the toughest tasks when the kids are really young. But as they get older, this is another task they should be able to handle themselves. It’s really all about raising our kids to be competent adults one day—and that means that they’re going to have to arrive at places on time.

How do you help your kids navigate their mornings independently? Add any other tasks they do on their own in the comments!

—Heather Dixon