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How To Foster Independence In Your Children

Do you ever wish your children could do things on their own? As a parent, you’ve been doing a lot for your children, which is what parents are supposed to do. However, as your children grow and get older, you don’t have to keep picking out their outfits, making their beds and scolding them about their homework. 

How To Foster Independence In Your Children

At a certain age, which may be different for each child, your children will begin to do things independently, like brushing their teeth in the morning or putting their toys away. Although you may want to hang onto their baby and toddler years, one of your roles as a parent is to prepare them for the rest of their lives. 

Soon, they’ll have to be independent and self-sufficient. If you keep stepping in to do tasks they can accomplish, they’ll continue to depend on you for longer than you intended. Here’s how to foster independence in your children. 

Give Them Age-Appropriate Chores

Depending on the age of your children, they might be ready to tackle some of the household chores. Chores take a little bit of focus and determination, so once children are about two or three years old, they should be able to pick up a few toys. 

As your children get older, they can have more responsibilities, like sweeping floors, washing dishes, making their bed and putting away clothes. They’ll recognize that they made a difference in the house, and they may end up doing chores on their own, especially if you establish a chore chart. Be patient and don’t expect perfection at first. It’ll take time before they can fully accomplish a chore on their own.

Provide “Big Kid” Opportunities

Another way to foster independence is by providing plenty of big kid opportunities. For children, it feels good to do something by themselves and take after the “big kids.” Give your children chances to feel that way so they can gain confidence and independence. 

You can have your child act like a big kid by allowing them to pick their own clothes. Further, when you’re at a restaurant, let them order what they want on their own. Depending on your level of trust with your child and neighborhood, you could allow them to walk to a friend’s house.

Allow Them to Spend More Time Without You

If your child is with you all the time, they’re going to be more dependent on you. Provide them time without you. You could send them on a play date with some friends and let them stay longer as they get older. School-age kids will be invited to more birthday parties and events, so allow them to go and spend time without you. 

For a more extended option, you can sign them up for a summer camp. Summer camps are often one week long, and they give your children chances to be independent. Your child is responsible for picking their clothes for the day, attending to personal hygiene, making food choices and trying new activities. This helps them gain more independence. 

Let Them Entertain Themselves with Free Play

Nowadays, it seems that if a child is bored, it’s the end of the world. As a parent, you’ve likely experienced times when your children are bored and are begging for something to do. Let them be bored instead of handing them a tablet or giving them a toy with specific rules. 

When your child plays with no set boundaries, they’re participating in free play. Kids need to learn that not every moment of their life has to be filled with a scheduled activity. Soon, if you let them be bored long enough, they’ll find things that interest them, which allows them to be more independent in what they do with their time.

Set Predictable Routines at Home

Establishing a consistent routine when your children are home can actually help foster independence. As a parent, you probably like it better when you can anticipate the day ahead of you. Your children are the same way. A routine is something that occurs over and over, usually at the same time every day, so your children get into a habit of knowing what comes next.

For example, after your children wake up in the morning, they might brush their teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast and then head off to school. If this routine is the same every morning, they’ll eventually begin to accomplish it independently. They take on more responsibilities with less help from you.

Learning to Be on Their Own

Eventually, your children will grow up and be on their own. By fostering independence in them at a young age and teaching them to be responsible, they’ll be confident in whatever the future brings to them. As they work and play towards independence, remember to praise their efforts and accept their failures. 


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