Encouraging Our Children To Be Independent

Have you found yourself in a situation where you were doing something very normal for your child when a comment was made about it.

Have you found yourself in a situation where you were doing something very normal for your child when a comment was made about it. A friend, family member or maybe even your partner suggested that you should let the child “work it out for themselves” as it's “the only way they will learn”. Easier said than done right? Well maybe they have a point. 
  • Feeding Our motivation for feeding our toddlers can vary from person to person and indeed child to child. Hygiene could be the issue and when you are feeding your child their meals the mess is likely to be minimal. Or perhaps the concern is the quantity of food eaten. Many parents will admit that if they spoon-feed their child more food is consumed. Allowing our children to feed themselves encourages independence as well as improving motor skills and hand-eye coordination. OK, we'll work on it! 
  • Dressing OK so if you let your daughter dress herself every morning you simply wouldn't have enough Disney Princess costumes but are we missing a trick by dressing out children every day? First comes the choosing of clothes. It's OK to admit that we like our children to be dressed well. We enjoy putting together their outfits and seeing things “match” and work well together. We also just don't have the time for a ten minute sock application session every morning. Giving our children the choice of what to wear along with encouraging them to dress themselves are actually important life skills. We'll start with baby steps and let them pick their own socks tomorrow.
  • Going to the toilet. So your toddler is toilet trained but you are still accompanying them to the toilet, pulling their trousers down (and back up again) and ensuring things go where they are meant to go.... Believe it or not your child will do all of this alone in pre-school so any encouragement to do this all by themselves will only help them in the long run. There will be mess and exposed bum cheeks but we'll get there!
  • Brushing Their Teeth.We know that the grand total of one tooth was actually cleaned when they done it themselves but this is another life-skill which will improve daily. If you're quick enough you can give them a quick “top up” as soon as they have done it themselves. It will normalise the experience and give them a sense of independence too. 
  • Cleaning UpYour idea of cleaning is probably very different to your child's but this is an activity we really should compliment and encourage. It will take considerably longer but the sooner our children accept that cleaning up is a normal part of life the better. We're not talking scrubbing here. Let's start with putting their toys back in the basket or drawer. You'll thank yourself for introducing this one. 
Written by Tracey, mummy blogger and staff writer at www.familyfriendlyhq.ie.
Check out her own blog at www.loveofliving.ie

Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

Read more by Tracey
{{ post.excerpt }}
{{ post.content.formatted }}

What is Family Friendly HQ?

Family Friendly HQ is Ireland’s trusted parenting community, dedicated to mums and dads, and families of all shapes and sizes.

Read more about us