8 Tips to Make Your Kids More Independent
Children are too young to understand the concept of responsibility or punctuality and it sometimes makes things tough for us as parents. Be it getting them ready for school or even going out for dinner, kids are dependent on us for little things. As parents, we want our children to be independent. But it's not always easy for them to become more self-sufficient and responsible. Some of this is because as parents, our instinct is often to make things easier for them and rescue them from their mistakes. This limits their experiences with failure, which gives them a chance to learn. It takes time and effort to make your child more independent, but the rewards are well worth it.
Raising an independent child is essential for every parent. It makes your kids better leaders, good decision makers and helps them ooze confidence and display self-esteem. Teaching your kid to be self sufficient will not happen overnight - it takes time, patience and a whole lot of mistakes that they will learn from.
Here are some tips to help make your kids more independent:
1. Give notice: Get your child on board by encouraging them to help “you” change. Treat them as if you were underestimating them and took notice of it, and let them know that they are ready to do some big-kid jobs! This is how you motivate your kid to try out new things while placing your trust in them.
2. Let Them Make Mistakes: Letting kids make mistakes will teach them how to succeed in life. When your kid makes a mistake, let them know it's okay to falter and help them assess how they could do better the next time. Focus on teaching them that failure is just feedback. It helps develop a growth mindset, and with that mindset, they will be able to overcome any struggle confidently.
3. Involve them in household tasks: Kids are willing to help out around the house when they feel they contribute to the household authentically. Try to encourage your child to take on small tasks like cleaning up toys after playtime, helping put away groceries and picking up things lying in their room and keeping them in place. Make sure you are giving them chores that are age-appropriate and necessary. The tasks need not be big, just something that requires them to think ahead and plan. For example, if there is laundry piling up, ask them what can be done about it to make it go in its place. All of these small tasks are necessary in a household, and by involving them, they will feel empowered, and bonus points, they might actually start doing their own laundry!
4. Help Take Care of Younger Siblings or Other Kids: Taking care of younger children is one of the best ways to teach kids how to be responsible and mature. Taking care or babysitting could mean different things - it could be the older sibling being in charge of reading or playing games with a younger sibling while a grown-up is nearby or even a family deciding it's okay to leave a 10-year-old with a 7-year-old sibling while the grown up runs to the store for a few minutes. Trusting an older child to care for little ones is a great way to teach children not only to be independent but more responsible, too.
5. Offer Choices Within Limits: Offering freedom and allowing children to make their own choices is a great way to empower them and build confidence in their decision-making skills. When children can make their own choices, there are more opportunities for them to experience natural consequences which helps them build a sense of responsibility.
6. Find Ways to Entertain Themselves: It is essential for kids to know that not every single moment of their lives has to be filled with scheduled activities that need to be planned by parents. Encourage your kids to find things that interest them, on their own and take that interest and make something out of it. This will give them the opportunity to spend time on the things they like. Parents can encourage kids to be more independent by doing things like setting up some time to read side by side every day or having kids work on their own activity. DIY kits are a great way to keep your kids occupied while you cook dinner. When parents show kids that they have their own interests, such as doing yoga, reading, catching up with their own friends, knitting, or even catching up on work, they are making it clear that parents, like kids, have their own independent needs and interests, and that it's okay for parents and kids to do things apart from one another.
7. Teach Them to Be Independent Thinkers: Get your child into the habit of thinking about things and forming their own opinions, be it current news events, historical milestones or fictional stories. Talk about news events over dinner or while you drive them to school. Encourage them to tell you what they think about these issues and help them form an opinion. When you really listen to your child, you are showing them that their opinions matter to you and that their ideas and thoughts are valuable and worthwhile. This will help them gain confidence in their own decision making skills and help them be better problem solvers.
8. Praise their efforts: Doing something on their own for the first time is exciting for a young kid! Pay your kid a quick compliment on their work and the amount of hard work they have put in. This will make a young kid practically burst with pride at what they’ve achieved. Praising their efforts will help them take on more tasks and overcome more challenging activities.
Helping your kid become more independent is all about having an understanding relationship with them. Give them their space to grow, while being there to hold their hand to guide them when it's absolutely necessary. Independence comes through day-to-day activities with your kids and a great way to engage them in more independent play is through various STEM activities. STEM kits encourage independent play while helping your kids have better problem solving skills, while building a positive attitude towards the subjects such as science, technology, engineering and math, and thus, leading to cognitive development & having a growth mindset.
As parents, it sure does feel good when your kids need you. However, we need to remind ourselves that our long term parenting goal is to make our kids independent thinkers and thus, go out in the world and do great things.