8 Ways to Help Your Child Become More Independent
Your kids might be little ones today but eventually, they are going to grow up to be fully functioning adults. Learning a few life skills early in life can make them well-prepared to handle the demands of adulthood.You’re not doing your children any favours when you perform basic tasks for them. In fact, children can develop learned helplessness. Learned helplessness is when a child lacks independence and cannot or will not do age-appropriate tasks. In order for your child to gain confidence and become more responsible, follow these five tips.
1. Give them Responsibilities they Can Handle
Your child does not need to start handling the finances of the house and make big decisions. Independence needs to begin from the self and that is where you can help your kid. If you are planning a picnic and need your child to help you out with it, give him simple tasks such as making a list of items you might need or going ahead and packing his own bag for a short weekend trip you might be taking.
2. Make a List
Create a list of tasks that your child should be able to do on their own, such as getting dressed or putting their toys away. Talk to them about which tasks they think they can do. If they’re unsure, have them practice in front of you. Eliminate any tasks that they don’t seem to be ready for. Keep in mind, children perform better when they know what’s expected of them.
3. Don’t Expect Perfection
Children are still figuring out their motor skills, so some mishaps may happen, such as spilling juice when they want to pour themselves a drink. If they mess up, try not to criticize them. Instead, gently show them the correct way to do things. Explain that everyone makes mistakes, and no one is perfect.
4. Allow Enough Time
Children tend to need more time to finish tasks compared to adults. Give them the time they need to prevent them from becoming stressed. For example, if it takes your child ten minutes to put on their clothes in the morning, start your daily routine earlier. As they practice, they will get faster at their tasks.
5. Develop a Routine
Children need routine to manage their responsibilities. If their daily schedule is constantly changing, they’ll become confused. Explain to them when they have to complete specific tasks. For example, you can tell your child that they need to pick up their toys before getting ready for bed. When it gets close to their bedtime, remind your child that they need to clean up before they put on their night suit.
6. Offer Praise
Children love to be recognized for the things that they do. Give your child praise when they do something on their own, especially if it’s something they needed help with before. You can even turn mistakes into praise. For example, if your child puts their shirt on backward, you can acknowledge that they were able to pick out clothing and dress themselves. Give your child encouragement when they’re feeling frustrated. In short… It might seem easier and quicker to do things for your children instead of allowing them to do it themselves.
7. Avoid Hand-Holding Your Child
Many parents confuse guidance with hand-holding and constantly intervene in the child’s actions if he is doing something wrong or is taking longer than needed. At early ages, it is good to guide your child with some instructions or open-ended suggestions that inform him of the possibility that the task can be completed in an easier way. As he grows up, let him come to you if he needs help, rather than intervening needlessly.
8. Teach Negotiation
Many children tend to start viewing the world as a win and lose proposition. Open up your child to the world of compromise and negotiation and he will start understanding to make the best of the situation that is presented before him. He can either choose the picnic location or the picnic lunch but he cannot do both. This will help him prioritise his own preferences, too.