Our kids crave independence. The more they explore, the more they learn, which eventually means they are desperate to do things for themselves and by themselves.
Yes, it’s usually messy, often slow, and frequently tedious but while it may seem so much easier and quicker to do things for our children, nurturing their independence encourages them to do things for themselves.
By establishing this autonomy they build responsibility, develop problem-solving skills, self-confidence, self-discipline, and cooperation. And fostering this independence is relatively easy once we take a step back and give them the opportunities to learn. Here are some ways you can promote independence in your children.
Give Them Choice
Kids love making choices. What to wear, what to eat, which path to take on a walk are some of the easiest ways to encourage their independence. We may not choose a ballet skirt with lime green leggings but letting them choose gives them an opportunity to hone their decision-making skills. Their choices may not suit the weather so to avoid an argument give them options instead. Providing a selection of three outfits in the morning means we somewhat manage what they are going to rock up at preschool with, but they still get to make the all-important choice.
Let Go Of Perfection
Learning to take a step back is probably the hardest part in guiding our kids within their independence. It’s only natural for us to want to provide and care for our kids as they move from toddler to pre-school age but to give them independence means we must allow them to do things for themselves no matter how tedious. Letting go of perfection is a must. Yes, drinks will be spilt, tears will be shed, but they will learn.
Give Them Time
Another aspect that makes childhood independence ultimately tedious for parents is the time factor. We could pop their coat on them, zip up and pop the poppers in four seconds but they won’t learn to do this for themselves. Throwing their coat on the floor and allowing them to pull it over their heads themselves is a skill and an independence which they will get faster at the more they practice. So give them time to learn.
Adopt A Routine
Children live by routine. Their routine allows them to manage their expectations and understand their responsibilities. Adopt a routine that will help them complete the tasks they are learning such as tidying away their toys.
Finally, give them lots of praise and encouragement for everything they learn. If something falls over, or a drink is spilt, avoid giving out to them, but rather praise them for their attempt and encourage them to try again.