Updated on January 27th, 2016
As a young adult, I remember babysitting my 3 year old cousin. When it came time for lunch, instead of asking me to get him something to eat, he went to the pantry, pulled out all of the ingredients for a sandwich, and made the whole thing by himself. I remember taking a mental note of his independence and how I hoped to instill this life-skill in my own children one day. Now, as a mother of two, I love finding ways to challenge and help my children grow with these 8 Ways to Encourage Independence in Kids.
I received samples and compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.
8 Ways to Encourage Independence in Kids
1. Praise your child when they show independence. Compliment your child’s independent acts in the presence of others.
2. Provide your child with choices. Allow your child to choose their own after school snacks, the clothes they wear (even if it means they look homeless), which homework assignment to complete first, the books they want to read before bed. However, make sure that you provide a safe environment and also set boundaries for these choices.
3. Assign your children age-appropriate chores. Starting as early as a toddler, allow child to start helping with jobs around the house – dusting, dishes, toy clean-up, making dinner, etc.
4. Don’t be a helicopter mom. When your child is playing with other children, it’s SO easy to step in anytime a problem arises. Unless danger is involved, sit back and let your child learn how to work things out by themselves. Problem solving is essential when teaching independence.
5. Allow your child to learn through natural consequences. If your child puts an entire can of blue Play-Doh in their fish tank, their fish will probably die 😉
6. Challenge your children with opportunities for growth. Set age-appropriate goals with your child that will set them up for success – reading a certain number of books each day, memorizing their piano song, etc.
7. Encourage independent play. Allow your child a certain amount of time each day where they are in charge of entertaining themselves. Provide them with activity choices, but allow them to learn how to play all by themselves.
8. Allow children to show their independence. A lot of times, it may save a lot of time when we help our children put on their shoes, get dressed, feed them, etc. However, it’s essential that children learn how to complete these tasks all by themselves. Teach your children how to accomplish these tasks, then allow them to independently perform them; even if it means extra time may be involved.
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