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11 Ways to Foster Independence in Your Child

20 August 2021

Growing up entails gaining more autonomy and doing more activities without the supervision of one's parents. But what can parents do to ensure that their children get the support—and, if appropriate, push required to grow into confident adults?

Unless their parents teach them, kids are too young to accept the idea of timeliness or accountability. Until you give your child the opportunity to do things on their own, make silly mistakes, and learn from them, they may become reliant on you for minor tasks. As your child grows older, you'll want to help them become self-sufficient in the appropriate way because basic directions should never be used as a punishment. As a parent, you can gently guide your children on the right track with a few simple suggestions while allowing them to discover independence in their own time.

Absolute independence comes from knowing who we are and what we want and having the courage to be ourselves. Our children may be reliant on us today, but they will grow up to be self-sufficient doers and thinkers.

As parents, we must encourage our children's growing feeling of independence. This will not only assist them in being responsible, but it will also equip them for the rigours of adulthood. We should teach children to be self-reliant, recognize their shortcomings, and seek help when they cannot solve problems on their own. It's incredible how happy and satisfied you feel when you witness your children complete a task independently.

Kids going to school

Why Teach Them to be Independent?

Your child may be too inexperienced at the moment, but he will someday mature into a properly functioning adult. Early life training of a few basic skills will help him cope with the pressures of adulthood.

  • If they are self-sufficient, they will realize their errors, seek your help, and be willing to learn how to do better.
  • Children can begin to know themselves more and grasp what makes them feel better by presenting options early in their lives.
  • Being independent helps your child begin learning new things on his own, take chances, and have a greater understanding of the world.
  • Self-esteem is formed in an individual from a very young age. This can be amplified if a child begins to believe in themselves and their own decisions. Independence aids in this aspect and gives a child a sense of worth from a young age.

Here are some of the various ways parents can encourage independence in school-aged children as a long-term parenting objective while still allowing them to savour the pleasures of childhood.

Build a List

Make a list of things that your child should be able to complete independently, such as dressing or putting their toys away. Consult them on which duties they believe they are capable of achieving. Allow them to practice with you if they are uncertain. Remove any tasks for which they don't appear to be prepared. Bear in mind that when children know what is expected of them, they perform much better.

Create a Routine and Boost Discipline

When children think in chronological order, it is easier for them to make choices. A planned schedule for what needs to be done throughout the day at a specific time might assist the child in making decisions in a safe setting. When kids have a set of objectives to meet, deciding how and when to accomplish them can contribute to developing a daily routine and discipline.

Assign Them Tasks and Chores They Can Handle

Your child does not have to begin managing the family finances or making big decisions. Self-reliance must start with oneself, and this is where you can assist your child. If you're arranging a cookout and need your child's assistance, assign them basic chores such as writing a list of products you'll need or help you prepare some ingredients, ensuring safety and appropriateness for their age.

Your child should be able to do various age-appropriate housework, from doing dishes to sweeping floors, depending on her age and how trustworthy and engaged she is. Even small children can assist in setting the table and tidying up their rooms. Chores will not only instill a feeling of responsibility in children, but they can also increase their self-esteem as they witness how their efforts benefit their family.

Father and son cooking burgers

Help With Planning Meals

One of the most beneficial things you can do for your children is to teach them how to feel at ease in the kitchen and, subsequently, how to create basic meals. Shopping and cooking together are not only excellent strategies to instill healthy food habits in children, but they also provide a fantastic opportunity for families to spend quality time together. While you're doing everyday tasks with your children, such as errands and chores, they frequently reveal information about themselves and their life. Allowing your child to assist with snacks and meals and perhaps take charge of them is vital in teaching them to be more self-reliant.

Don’t Anticipate Perfection

Because children are still developing their motor abilities, incidents such as spilling lemonade while trying to pour themselves a glass are possible. Try not to reprimand them if they make a mistake. Rather, demonstrate how to do things correctly in a friendly way. Emphasize that no one is perfect and that everyone makes errors. 

Allow Some Time

Start your morning 10 minutes early and leave the socks where they should find them if it takes them 10 minutes to put on their socks. If they aren't micromanaged, they may amaze you with their participation, and you will be a calmer influence if you aren't running against the time.

Avoid Hand-Holding

Many parents conflate advice with hand-holding, and they continuously meddle in their children's behaviour if they are doing anything incorrectly or taking longer than necessary. When kids are young, it is helpful to provide directions or open-ended recommendations that notify them of the potential to do the work more efficiently. However, rather than interfering unduly as kids grow older, let them approach you if they require assistance.

Let Them Make Decisions

Understanding how the child would want to spend the day is one method to encourage them to make their own choices. Ask if your children choose to do their schoolwork first or play instead—picking which veggie to have for dinner, for example. Children can learn the value of prioritizing and making decisions by giving them options and pushing them to complete the task as planned.

African teen girl combing younger sisters hair

Allowing Care for Younger Children

Taking care of younger children is an excellent approach to teach kids responsibility and maturity. Look around your community for the best babysitters—chances are, those teens will be trustworthy, grounded, and loving young people. Every family can determine what "babysitting" for a school-aged child entails, such as assigning specific duties to an older child while being monitored by an adult or leaving younger kids with the older one in charge for a few minutes while the adults go on an errand. Trusting an older child to look for younger siblings is an excellent approach to teach youngsters to be autonomous and responsible.

Learn to Think Independently

Make it a habit for your child to think of things and make her judgments on anything from world events to historical landmarks to fictional novels. Discuss current events over dinner or during your drive home. Encourage them to express their opinions on problems. You help your child understand that their views are important to you and that their thoughts and ideas are valued and worthy when you listen attentively to them.

Applaud and Praise

Children enjoy being praised for their accomplishments. When your child does anything on their own, give them praise, mainly if they previously required assistance. You can even commend for making a mistake. If your child, for instance, puts their sweater on backward, you can appreciate that they could choose and clothe themselves. When your child is frustrated, encourage them.

It may appear quicker and easier to do everything for your children rather than letting them on their own. When children are given the freedom to complete things themselves, they acquire a sense of personal responsibility and success. They will be able to utilize their problem-solving abilities in new circumstances as they get older.