4 Simple Strategies To Help Your Child Become More Independent
As much as we love keeping our kids protected in a bubble, helping them become independent has its benefits (we don't want to think about it, but the reality is that we aren’t going to be here forever, right?). Being independent will help children become more self-sufficient, confident, and responsible. Not to forget, which parent doesn’t like having ten minutes to themselves before heading to work because their child can put their clothes on their own?
So, if you want to turn your munchkin into an independent child, we have four effective strategies for you!
1. Allow Mistakes
Sometimes people learn by observing others or listening to other's stories and other times they learn through direct contact with success or a mistake (something called learning through contingencies). When your child makes a mistake, PAUSE, and take a deep breath and say, “it’s okay,” rather than yelling at them or doing the task for them. If you want to help, brainstorm ideas on how to prevent the mistake from occurring again in the future. This shift in mindset will actually guide them rather than create behavior problems.
We understand that you don’t want your child to struggle with the consequences of mistakes but reframe that failure as feedback that they will learn from. So, a bit of patience will create a growth mindset, making them more confident and less likely to make mistakes in the future.
2. Involvement In Household Chores
Encouragement is the optimal way of making kids more confident. For this reason, involve them in small household chores, such as washing dishes, picking up their room, cleaning up their play area, or putting away small grocery bags. But hey, only give them important and age-appropriate chores. Now, when kids feel that they are contributing to the home, they will be more inclined to help.
Keep in mind that chores don’t need to be big but make sure that they push them to plan and think. For instance, if there is a dirty laundry piling up in the hamper, ask them what should be done about it instead of "go put the dirty laundry to wash" . If they say, “mommy, let’s wash them together” allow them to initiate the wash by pushing the washing machine’s button and doing as much of it as they are capable of doing. It will not only make them confident, but they will also learn how to do laundry for themselves in the future.
3. Offer Freedom & Choice
Allowing children to make some choices and providing freedom is a reliable way of empowering kids and instilling confidence in their problem-solving and decision-making skills. When kids learn to make their own choices, they will have more opportunities to develop a sense of responsibility. Moreover, it helps kids feel that their needs, preferences, and wants are well-respected.
In simpler words, when kids practice making their own choices, they will grow into decisive individuals. Also, if your kids are young, don’t just ask them what they want to do; rather, provide two to three appropriate options that will help them narrow down their choices and respond more effectively.
4. Provide Space(ish) (while still keeping an eye on them)
Providing your child with the CHANCE to become independent, will mostly happen when they are on their own. For instance, let kids play on their own (keep an eye on them but remain discreet), let them order their favorite meal at the restaurant, or ask them to pay for their own candies in a store (give them money but don’t assist them to the cash counter).
We hope these 4 simple but effective strategies will help you guide your child to become more independent and confident.