As a parent, you want the best for your children. You want them to grow up and become independent, self-aware thinkers who can take care of themselves. To ensure that happens, you need to start fostering their independence now. Allowing your children to make their own choices and learn from failures will help them become more confident in who they are as people.
In this article, we highlight small ways you can foster your child’s independence. From letting them dress themselves to praising their small wins, here are a few tips:
1. Let Them Decide Things
You might feel inclined to make every decision for your children — it’s faster, and you know better, right? Unfortunately, doing so puts them at a disadvantage. For your children to grow up and become well-functioning adults, it’s important they be able to make their own decisions. Therefore, let them call the shots every once and a while.
We’re not suggesting you let your kids decide everything. Start small. Let your kids pick out their outfits for school, what book to read at bedtime, what to eat for breakfast, and so on. Depending on your child’s age, you might have to give them options to choose from. But even letting them have the final say is a good step toward growing their independence.
2. Help Them Communicate
Being able to communicate is a skill your children need in order to be successful adults. And while communication is mostly learned by watching and listening, it’s important to create situations for your kids to observe.
Have dinner together as a family and get your kids involved in outside activities. Make sure they’re being exposed to other people and have the opportunity to talk to both kids and adults.
Depending on their age and maturity level, consider introducing them to technology as a way to further their communication skills. For instance, you could buy them a phone, a tablet, or a kids smartwatch they can use to connect with their friends and family.
3. Ask for Their Assistance
Do you need an assistant in the kitchen? Do you require an extra hand bringing in the groceries? Ask your children to help you.
While these might seem like small tasks, they prepare your kids for life by showing them how to handle certain responsibilities. Not to mention, being helpful makes children feel valued. This can strengthen their self-esteem and encourage them to become more independent.
Jot down a list of things your children can assist you with every day. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything too complex. Even simple tasks like table setting and putting the dirty laundry into baskets will make your child feel like they’re contributing.
4. Let Them Play
Play time is incredibly important in helping kids become more independent. By letting your children devise their own games and use their imagination, they’ll improve their critical thinking and creative skills.
When your child pretends to be a doctor, for example, they incorporate various forms of problem-solving. When a sick “patient” comes in, they have to diagnose their ailment by asking a series of questions. Once they come to a diagnosis, they then have to prescribe treatment. Both involve critical thinking, which is something your child will do better the more you nurture this kind of free play.
5. Praise Their Efforts
Children need encouragement, especially when they manage to achieve something on their own. The more praise you give your children for certain actions, the more likely they are to repeat them. Even small deeds, like remembering to flush the toilet, should be followed with a positive affirmation.
If your child gets dressed on their own, give them a high-five. If they manage to go to the bathroom in the toilet instead of their diaper, congratulate them! It’s important your kids feel confident about their choices, so they’re more likely to keep making them.
6. Give Them Responsibilities
A great way to teach your children independence is by giving them responsibilities they can actually handle. That said, responsibility is something kids have to practice — they aren’t born with it. That’s why it’s important for you as a parent to help your child learn how to be responsible for themselves and others.
A toddler can be in charge of picking up their toys before bedtime. If your child is older, give them larger responsibilities like feeding the fish or walking the dog after school. By being responsible for something — especially another living thing — your child will feel important and like they’re making a difference.
7. Let Your Children Fail
Instead of solving problems for your children, let them solve their own. Remember when your kids were babies and were learning how to walk? Chances are, you let them fall a few times so they could learn to get back up and try again. Do the same in other areas.
For instance, let’s say your child is learning how to tie their shoes. Don’t take over when you see them doing it wrong. Instead, let them finish, then give feedback afterward.
As a parent, you don’t want to see your child upset. We get it. But for kids to become independent, they have to make — and learn from — their own mistakes.
8. Be Patient
It’s going to take time for your children to become independent. If you expect a difference overnight, you’re going to be disappointed — and you may even take that out on your child. It’s important that you don’t. Rather, be patient and show empathy.
If your child makes a decision and fails, don’t scold them for it. Just the opposite: Praise them for taking a risk and seeing it through. Then help them talk through the failure and formulate a more successful approach for the next time.
Encouraging independence in your child is important, but it can be difficult to know exactly how. You don’t want to let your kids off the leash completely or give them more responsibility than they’re ready for. Luckily, you can foster independence in your kids while also keeping them safe and providing feedback so they can grow. The tips above are a great starting point for helping your kids become confident and self-assured. Get updated movies and web series at “gomovies“.