Creative Child

Training My Child to Be Independent

by Sarah Lyons on Jul 6th, 2017

As a mom of kids ranging from 2 to 12, I realize how quickly time flies. I love watching them grow, try new things, and discover their passions. As a parent, it can be hard to let them struggle through, or even fail at, experiences outside their comfort zone. However, those experiences develop confidence and independence which is valuable in raising children. I want to raise self-sufficient adults and that means I need to start training them now. Here are some ideas to help kids naturally develop the independence needed to be confident and responsible adults.

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The Preschool Years (ages 2-5)

Create a helper

Toddlers and preschoolers love to follow their parents around the house; so why not have them help with the chores? They can help put clothes in the dryer, match socks, sweep the floor, or assist in any other task. They may not be able to do chores independently or have household responsibilities yet, but taking the extra time now lays the groundwork for the future.

Give opportunities

During the preschool years, kids typically show an interest in trying self-care tasks themselves. It may be easier (and faster) to tie your child’s shoes, zip up their coat, make their lunch, and buckle their seatbelt but allowing your child to try these things on their own helps them become more independent. Consider starting the preparation for your day 15 minutes earlier to allow time for your child to try some things on their own. If frustration arises, remain calm and ask if they would like help. Instead of just completing the task for them, take time to teach them how to do it so they can try again tomorrow.

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Problem solve

Problem solving skills begin to develop at a young age. Toddlers and preschoolers will often get frustrated when things don’t go their way and it may result in a temper tantrum. While this is age appropriate, parents can begin to help their children develop problem solving skills by calmly suggesting solutions to what is upsetting them. Have your child come up with ideas to solve the problem and when possible help them work through it on their own.

Bonus tip for preschoolers

Give your child choices whenever possible to help them develop independence and to give them a sense of control.

The elementary school years (ages 6-11)

Create a helper

For elementary age kids, you can advance what was done in the preschool years. I will assign my child a chore like washing windows, vacuuming, or putting away dishes and since they have helped me with these tasks for years they no longer need my assistance. If they are reluctant to do chores, I make a list of things that need to be done and have them choose a few things they would like to do. When they are done they will have free time for electronics, outside play, or something they have been looking forward to. Chores teach kids to be independent and responsible.

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