While we might like to baby our kids when they’re young, they need to learn how to be an independent child. But how do you teach that? Helping our little ones to build the confidence and skills they need to navigate the world is important but we also want them to know we’re there if they fall.
Here are a few great tips to help you encourage your child’s independence while still staying close by.
5 Ways to Raise an Independent Child
1. Create an independent environment. Teach your kids to help themselves. Start with things they can easily manage on their own like getting dressed, making their bed and getting a snack. Don’t help them unless they are unable to do something for themselves.
A good way to introduce these tasks is by making them easier to begin with. For snacks, you can put a serving of your child’s favorite crackers or fruit snacks in a container within his reach on the counter. When he’s hungry, he can grab the snack bowl all by himself! For clothing, lay out what you want your child to wear the night before. That way, he can wake up and get dressed on his own. Clothing that is easy to snap or Velcro, rather than tie and button, help teach independence as well.
2. Create structures and routines. Having structures and routines in their lives can be very beneficial in creating independence in your kids. It gives them a sense of responsibility and it builds their self-confidence. Create a space where your child to place their school things including backpacks, coats, and shoes, someplace they can call their own and know where their things belong.
Carry this idea over to their bedroom as well with a specified place for their clothes and toys. Create a morning and evening routine that helps them get ready for school and get ready for bed.
3. Teach them how to problem-solve. When your kids ask for help, don’t habitually solve their problems. Instead, encourage them to work through the problem and coach them with questions that will help them reach a solution. Take the time to teach them how to solve on their own. Kids have a lot more skills than we give them credit for so help them feel confident by showing them how to solve their own problems.
4. Recognize their achievements. Praise your independent child for completing a task on their own that they may have struggled with before. It doesn’t matter how big or small the achievement is, let them know they did a great job and encourage them to do it again.
5. Learn to let go. As parents, we want to protect our kids, but we need to show them that we have confidence in their abilities. It’s easy to say but not as easy to do. Sometimes this can be the biggest act of love we can ever give our child. Show them that you have confidence in their abilities by learning to let go and allow them to do for themselves.
At some point, your child will grow up and they won’t need you to do things for them anymore. Start teaching them now how to be independent and it will give them the confidence they will need later to handle situations on their own.