Teaching a child to be independent is important because it teaches them to think for themselves, be self-reliant and take on responsibilities in life.
When you teach them to be independent, you are also helping them become confident adults who will be successful in life. Fostering independence in kids gives them the ability to believe in themselves.
If you think they are old enough to take care of some of their activities, encourage them to do it. It could be making their own bed in the morning, folding their set of clothes, setting up their study space, etc. You need to step in only when they are dealing with sensitive objects like scissors while crafting. Otherwise, just trust and let go of your protective instincts.
Teaching independence and letting them take control over their activities doesn’t mean you are neglecting them. In fact, teaching independence and important life skills is one of the best gifts we can give our children.
7 Ways to Encourage Children to Be Independent
1. Stop Doing Everything for Them
Although it may be easier to just do things yourself, this teaches your child nothing about the task at hand. Show them, teach them, and then let them handle things on their own. If they need help, they’ll ask for it. Confidence builds with independently created tasks. If you want you can stay near them to overlook their actions and intervene only when required.
2. Love, Respect & Patience
Always show your child love, respect, and patience. When these components are present, a child’s confidence builds. As a result, they will be more apt to go off and try things on their own. If they know they are supported and will not be ridiculed for making mistakes, they will feel more encouraged to try things independently.
3. Teach Them Life Skills
One day, your children will grow into healthy adults. And, when they do, they need to have basic life skills which include things such as cooking skills, laundry skills, time management, money managing skills, banking skills, and the ability to follow through. You can start teaching all of these one by one from an early age. For example, by giving them a monthly allowance of even Rs.50, you can teach them how to spend and save money and invest in something useful overtime.
4. Give Them Responsibilities
Since everybody is living under the same roof and are making messes, everyone should be responsible for keeping the home clean. Chores will undoubtedly help teach your child valuable life skills, the value of hard work, responsibility, and respect for themselves and others. They can help in cleaning the table after dinner, folding clothes and putting on new pillow covers.
5. Show Confidence
Acknowledge your pride in their accomplishment. If your toddler washed their hands on their own after using the restroom, that deserves a thumbs-up along with an appreciative “Good job!” This will not only make your children feel appreciated and “seen” but also encourage them to try out other activities too on their own!
6. Create an Independent Environment
Let your child figure things out. Using their own minds and capabilities to solve problems and accomplishment tasks is huge. Also, give them space when they need it. Alone time is healthy. It allows your child to gather their thoughts, think about their next move, and create a plan.
7. Let Them Make Mistakes
Show confidence in their abilities. Even if they make a mistake, insteading of blaming them for it, appreciate their efforts for trying it out in the first place. This also lends itself to starting a healthy dialogue with them about what they learned and what led to the mistake. You can also discuss a plan of action or possible solutions for the same mistake if it were to happen again in the future.
We are all born as individuals, independent beings. But to learn to perform day to day activities independently, is something we all learn along the process of growing up. You need to give your child space and a sense of independence so they will feel more confident. No task is learnt in one day’s time. It requires a lot of practice and patience for both the child and the parent.
We hope with these 7 tips, your child will learn to be more independent and responsible, just like you!