Posted on: 01.12.2021.
Children feel excited when they experience their abilities and knowledge in different situations, and by encouraging their independence we give them the opportunity to feel more confident. Many parents want their children to be independent, creative, able to think and cope with different challenges. But, how to achieve this? How to use everyday situations and interactions with a child to develop skills that children will use during childhood, adolescence and later adult life?
Read below how to encourage your children's independence and how to enable them to try different things, experience failure, try again and learn from their own mistakes.
Patience is one of the most important virtues of parenthood
One of the parenting tasks is to teach the child different habits, responsibilities and tasks. In these learning processes, children often need more time and it is very important to give them enough time (for example when dressing, tidying up toys). Modern life is fast, parents have many responsibilities, they are often in a hurry and in such situations, they may think: "This will be difficult for my child, it will be easier if I do it.", "We will need less time if I do it." Or "We don't have time for discussion now, let alone shouting and arguing. "
By doing things for children, we may save some time in certain situations or avoid an occasional discussion, but in the long run we are preventing children from trying out the skills they need on their own.
Do not forget the importance of asking questions!
When you want to give a child a task, try to do it by asking questions. For example, instead of telling your child, "Clean the room in half an hour," ask them, "When will you start cleaning the room?" Also, you can ask your child when they will start writing homework, instead of telling them.
By asking questions, you guide the children, but at the same time allow them to make their own decisions, which certainly has a positive effect on their self-confidence and the feeling that they can do something on their own. Use different situations and ask children questions to show them that their opinion is important, but also to help them learn to think.
Active participation of your children in daily activities
Praise your child when they do something on their own, even when the task is not done as it should be. For example, when your child fastens buttons on clothes, you can tell them "I really like how you fastened the buttons yourself". In this way, you send a message to the child that they are capable and that independence is something positive and desirable. If your child has trouble zipping up the jacket, don’t criticize them right away or do it for them, but give them support and verbal guidance. You can tell them something like, “I know it’s hard to zip up a jacket and it takes time to master it. Can you try again?” If the child still cannot do it, you can divide the task into simpler parts: "Try to push the hem of the jacket into the very bottom of the zipper, and then pull it up." If you see that your child is still struggling, help them and do it together.
Encourage your child to participate in doing simple chores around the house, such as putting spoons on the table, throwing trash in the bin, etc. If your child shows initiative and wants to try something new, show interest, observe what they want to do and support them.
Talk to your child, listen to their needs, watch them grow and develop and use everyday opportunities to encourage independence. Of course, you should not overdo it and when you notice that your child is struggling with a task, jump in to help them, show understanding and support. Let them know that they can rely on you and have a safe space for growth and development.
Article written by: Maja Cukon, mag.psych.
Encouraging Independence | Psychology Today
3 Ways to Raise Independent Children | Psychology Today