As parents, we share a common goal in nurturing our children: to raise independent and self-reliant kids. A child needs to be confident enough on his own before entering the real world with a diverse set of challenges waiting for them. An independent child will succeed in life and be better able to face the adversities that would come with it. That is why parents must help teach independence to kids early by engaging them in daily tasks and activities.
Independence is one of the essential qualities a child needs that allows him to make choices. Independence is learned and can be developed through small and gradual steps. The efforts to help our children gain the skills they need to stand on their own feet will benefit them in the present and for a lifetime.
However, nurturing a child’s independence is not an easy task to do. It may take years for your child to become responsible and independent. That is why you should impose in yourself patience, effort, and perseverance in guiding your child to achieve this goal. The process towards achieving it, although hard, gives good benefits to the child, including improving their problem-solving skills, developing a sense of responsibility, and boosting your child’s confidence. Aside from those, there are other numerous benefits to achieve as you and your child work towards gaining independence.
Benefits of Teaching Independence to Children
Having an independent and confident child and not always looking for your help will improve self-esteem. Self-esteem is an inborn trait, but it can be developed through the right kind of education and guidance.
2. Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Children who can develop their independence at an early age will learn how to handle emotions in healthy ways. They will better understand people’s feelings and respond appropriately rather than behaving rashly or making hurtful decisions. It can also help them cope with unpleasant situations at work or school. The ability of children to hold their emotions while being struck with pressure and discomfort is crucial for independence.
Kids who learn independence skills will be able to express their feelings and wants more constructively. They can apply the same kind of mind that they use in their studies, work, and other activities to solve difficult tasks with other people. This way, they will be able to practice compassion towards others instead of being harsh or irritable.
4. Social Skills
While helping your child develop independence, you’ll also be helping him learn social skills that will give him more confidence when dealing with other people, especially his family. He will know how to express himself appropriately without being rude. A confident child will be able to communicate with people freely and take in their suggestions and comments.
Children who can show their worth and go through learning independence will have a sense of empowerment. They will know that they can take care of themselves and those they care about and have their ideas. They will also be able to deal with any situation that would come their way when they are ready for it.
What Age do You Teach Independence to Kids?
When your child is around three to five years old, it is suitable for parents to begin teaching independence. At this age, the child is not yet in school. Therefore, this period will give you many opportunities and chances to teach them how to be independent kids. Parents can help their children develop their independence by initiating them with simple tasks at home, asking them to do small chores every day, and giving them extra attention when they have a task that needs to be done on their own. Parents must create an atmosphere in which children can feel comfortable doing what they are assigned to do. Being too strict or too lenient causes the child not to learn how important it is to do something independently.
Helpful Tips for Raising Independent Children
Here are the helpful tips for raising independent children.
1. Avoid Doing Everything for Your Child
First and foremost, when you are teaching your child to become independent, you should stop doing everything for them. Instead, they must learn to complete tasks without any adult supervision. For instance, if your child wants to go to the bathroom, let him do it by himself, so he would learn how to do it on his own. It is a simple task, but it can teach him that he should know how to do simple tasks independently.
2. Have Your Child Practice Being Independent in Little Things First
There are many ways for children to practice independence. For example, parents can start giving them more things like making their food by themselves or packing their school bags. It gives them confidence and enables them to be independent in these little things that can be achieved easily for now on a daily basis. The process is simple, and it is something that will allow the child to gain the skills needed as they grow up and become independent when they go to school or work for the first time.
3. Present Reasonable Choices
Letting your child have a choice in his life, without being too independent, is essential. You can present simple choices for them to make, such as what they want to wear or for lunch. Giving your child the choice will encourage them to think about what they want and appreciate the feeling of having a say in some decisions. However, you have to present reasonable options because giving them too many choices or confusing choices will make your child unable to decide and may cause him frustration when making a choice.
4. Always Let Your Child Make Mistakes and Learn From Them
Try not always to step in and fix things for your child, especially when the mistakes do not cause any harm. Instead, let them make mistakes and learn from them. Allow your child to take the initiative in finding solutions to his problems to avoid mistakes. Of course, it would help to correct the mistake when you see that your child repeatedly makes the same mistakes.
5. Set Limits and Boundaries
Being an independent child also means letting him do what he is allowed to do. However, you must set limits for what is too much or not enough for your child, especially when helping him learn and develop himself as a person. It is vital that you give your child room to be free, but at the same time keep an eye on his activities and provide safety for him even if he is more than capable of doing things for himself.
6. Stop Being Their Rescue Machine
As a parent, you might feel the urge to rescue your children if they are in need. However, this kind of rescue or saving behavior can cause your child to lose confidence and believe that he can do nothing on his own. So instead, let him learn how to survive and find solutions for himself. For example, if your child lost his toy, let him help you look for it, but do not step in and save the day for him.
7. Engage Your Child in Independent Play
For your child to become independent, he must engage in activities that encourage him to develop himself as a person. Some of the better age-appropriate tasks that you can introduce to your children are reading a book, doing crafts, and doing fun daily chores. These activities will lead your child to have more sense of control and confidence to do things independently.
8. Teach Your Child Life Skills
Another way for children to become independent is to teach them basic life skills such as cooking, cleaning, or even money managing skills. They have to know that they need to do things on their own. It will give them the knowledge and help them develop themselves as a person and help develop their mind into the independence they deserve.
9. Teach Your Child To Be Accountable For Their Actions
A dependent child is a demanding and spoiled child who used to manipulate anyone around him by not listening or making tantrums for not giving what he wants. However, you can change this attitude by providing consequences for his actions. It would help if you pointed out the right way to change his behavior to cause no harm to him or anyone around them. For example, if your child does not complete his homework when he is supposed to, he should be punished because it is his responsibility, and it should not be the responsibility of others. He must understand that when he does something wrong, he must learn what consequences to receive.
10. Create an Independent Environment for Your Child
You will find it easier to raise an independent child when you have a supportive environment for them. It would help if you let them do things at their own pace instead of pressure to follow a certain way. For example, you can encourage your child to learn how to ride a bike by himself. You can be there and support him, but do not push him too hard because it would only discourage him from trying harder the next time he needs to do something by himself. It is better that you give your child independence than providing everything that he wants.
Teaching your children the lessons of independence at a young age is very important for their growth. These skills will help them make the right decisions in life and help them develop into a competent adult who can take on any challenge thrown at them. Parents should remember to set good examples for independence by being independent and setting limits and boundaries for their children while learning from their mistakes.