5 Ways to Foster Independence in your Child
Penny Newell, nursery manager of Honey Bee Nursery shares ways to encourage your child as they grow older
It can be difficult for adults to accept that children grow and gradually become more and more independent and require less from us. However, as a parent, one of the best gifts you can give your child is to promote independence and teach your child self-sufficiency.
- Observe your child’s ability before offering help
It is recommended that parents observe the child attempting to solve the problem or trying to do things for themselves, only interrupting when necessary. Moments such as these are said to be character-building and supports their ongoing urge to be independent.
- Let children make choices
Children have a natural urge to be independent and as such we need to let children attempt to do things for themselves and encourage them to make choices. This is a great and simple way to encourage independence, and is vital for their development too.
- Give children time to master skills
What a child is capable of doing is constantly changing, and once they have mastered a skill it is time for new challenges. It is only by practicing these self-help skills that a child will master it, and in the process, it builds their character and makes them resilient.
- Let children feed themselves
As we encourage a child to feed themselves, they are practicing a valuable life skill, developing their motor skills, physical development and co-ordination but most importantly they are having fun. Teaching your child to be independent starts from an early age, when they are interested in feeding themselves. Although it is messy, it is important for parents to encourage the child to attempt to do things when time permits.
- Show them you trust them
Look for moments to show your children that you trust them and that will help them learn to trust themselves. When we intervene so often while our children are trying their best – for the sake of saving time or preventing a mess – we are essentially telling our children to remain completely dependent on us. Of course, we want our children to lean on and trust us, but in those moments when we over-correct for the sake of convenience, we may as well say, “I don’t have patience for your learning, and you just can’t do it.”
Perhaps you should ask yourself, what have I done for my child today that he/she could have done for himself/herself?