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Helping Children Develop Into Self-Sufficient Individuals

We didn’t approach adulthood with a sudden surge of independence. This trait was nurtured and grew with us since infancy thanks to our guardians.

Independence includes learning life skills so kids can grow into self-reliant adults who live fulfilling lives.

While you might not want to think about your child growing up and not needing you anymore, teaching your child independence is the best gift you can give them.

Kids develop self-confidence and important life skills through independence. Get your child to take part in everyday tasks and gain responsibility and allow them to make mistakes and learn from them.

Here are tips for teaching independence to children at home and at their daycare in Kanata.

As A Parent, When Should I Start Encouraging Independence?

You can start teaching your child independence when they are as young as two years old. At this age, they are able to learn how to use the toilet, feed and dress themselves, and complete other small tasks.

Have your child help you with daily tasks and narrow down tasks so they are suitable for your child’s age. For example, when folding laundry, ask your child to find all the socks.

As your child gets older, give them more complex tasks and responsibilities.

Everyday Tasks To Encourage Confidence

It’s easy to incorporate tasks that encourage confidence into a child’s daily routine. All it takes is a bit of encouragement and gratitude on your end.

Consider getting your children to help out with household chores, including:

  • Putting toys away
  • Getting dressed
  • Putting clothes in the hamper
  • Setting the table
  • Clearing plates after meals
  • Helping with the dishes
  • Brushing their own teeth
  • Washing their own face
  • Washing their hands
  • Helping with the laundry

 Teaching Self-Care

It’s easy to dismiss self-care as a set of basic skills for maintaining physical health and hygiene.

While it’s important to teach your children these basics, they’re all part of a broader focus on well-being. Self-care helps us when we find ourselves dealing with a difficult day, stress, or even mental health challenges.

Instilling these skills in your children at a young age helps them in the long run.

It’s important to note that sometimes this means getting moving and active, and sometimes it means treating yourself to a favourite meal.

Regardless of your approach to self-care, teach kids the skills they need to take care of themselves and their minds.

How to Give Your Child More Responsibility

Give Them More Time in the Morning

Set the alarm a bit earlier to give your child more time to dress themselves and get ready in the morning. This will decrease the chances of you taking over and dressing them because you’re in a rush.

Involve Them

Ask your kids to help you with day-to-day tasks, including their own. You can tell them they are ready to do “big boy” or “big girl” jobs now.

Make A List of Independent Tasks

Make a list of tasks you feel your child is capable of doing on their own. And ask your child if there are any tasks they feel comfortable doing on their own. Have them write down these tasks for their own list. This should make them more willing to try the tasks.

Give Enough Warning

Notify your kids several minutes in advance when it’s time for them to complete tasks. For example, “Dinner will be ready soon, so you have five more minutes of play time before you have to go wash your hands.”

Meet Each Other Half Way

If your child isn’t willing to complete a task on their own, offer to make a compromise. For example, say you will help them get their bottom half dressed if they will do the top.

You can also be silly to make these tasks more fun. Pretend to put their clothes on backwards so your child will decide to take over and do it all on their own.

Make Tasks Accessible

Make sure everything your child needs to complete tasks is within reach. Put their dishes, snacks, cereal, and milk on a lower shelf they can easily reach. And give them a step stool to use for brushing their teeth and helping with the laundry and dishes.

Watch them complete their daily tasks to see if there’s anything else they need to complete tasks on their own.

Pick Appropriate Times to Introduce New Tasks

If you think your child is ready to take on more responsibilities, make sure it’s a good time to introduce the new tasks. Don’t do this while they are sick, tired, or stressed out with other changes in their lives.

If your child regresses and wants your help doing something they’ve already mastered, help them temporarily and don’t criticize them.

Offer Choices

Allow your child to be confident in their decision-making by offering them choices each day.

Narrow down these choices to two so they won’t be overwhelmed with too many options. For example, ask them, “Would you like soup or a sandwich for lunch?”

Encourage Them Through Mistakes While Remaining Positive & Supportive

Don’t criticize your child when they make mistakes. This could scare them off of trying tasks again. Instead, be supportive and positive, assuring them that these mistakes happen to everyone. Show them how to clean up or fix their mistakes.

Mistakes are life lessons. So making mistakes and learning from them are an important part of growing up and becoming a responsible adult.

Also praise them for completing tasks, even if they haven’t completed the task perfectly.

For example, if your child puts their shoes on the wrong feet, don’t give them a hard time for making this mistake. Instead, praise them for putting their shoes on, and let them realize their shoes are on wrong. Don’t worry, they’ll realize soon enough when their shoes don’t feel right.

Don’t Strive for Perfection

Your kids won’t complete tasks as well as you will, so don’t expect them to.

If a small problem arises, let them figure it out first before swooping in to fix it. Give them time to solve their problems. If they are still stuck after some time, offer some possible ideas to help them.

Always be supportive and show your child respect. Treating your child with respect is important for them to develop self-confidence and independence, and learn how to treat others with respect too.

Learning When to Take A Step Back As A Parent

If you do everything for your child, they will become spoiled. And this spoiled attitude can stick with them into adulthood. So take a step back and let your child attempt to complete tasks on their own.

While your child is deeply concentrating on a task, don’t interrupt them. When they are zoned in on a task, allow them to finish without asking questions and disrupting their flow.

Kids also learn independence in daycare. They learn how to spend time away from parents, how to complete tasks on their own, and how to develop relationships with people other than their family.

Consider these tips and send your child to a daycare in Kanata so they can start learning the essential life skills for being independent.