Wednesday, July 6, 2016

6 Tips for Developing Independence in Your Child

We have probably all seen an "Elsa" or "Anna" at the grocery store when a child insists on wearing their Halloween costume in the middle of June. The clothes children choose to wear is one way children show their independence.

Helping your child develop their independence is an important part of helping them build their self-confidence. Parenting psychologist, Jim Taylor, says “If your children are independent, you have provided them with the belief that they are competent and capable of taking care of themselves…You gave your children the freedom to experience life fully and learn its many important lessons.”

 I’d like to offer six tips to help your young children develop their own independence.  

  1. Explain why. Talk to your child about how they are ready for big-kid jobs. Get them excited about having more control and responsibilities.
  2. Identify opportunities. Make a list of tasks they can start doing for themselves (specialized for your child and their age). Start with a few simple tasks they can do; do not overwhelm them with too many tasks right away. Tasks could include brushing their teeth, selecting their own outfit, or pouring their breakfast cereal.
  3. Show her the ropes. Help your child break down the task into smaller steps so she knows how to do the task by herself. Then step back and assist when necessary.
  4. Make compromises. At first you may have to go fifty-fifty; you put on one shoe, he puts on the other. Making compromises like these will help him begin to become independent as you challenge him a little bit more each day.
  5. Be patient. As a parent, it may be hard to watch your child struggle. Or you may get impatient as a simple task can take twice as long without your help. Consider starting your day a few minutes early so she does not feel rushed and get frustrated.
  6. Offer praise. Be sure to let your child know what a good job they do. Rather than pointing out the spilled cereal, focus on the things he did well and the progress he made.
The road to helping your child take on more responsibilities and become independent can be slow going initially, but be persistent. Remember to judge each situation and your child’s mood. For example, if your child is sick or has had a rough day, do not push her too much or introduced a new responsibility. As you patiently help your child accomplish small tasks, gradually you will see your child be able to do larger tasks all on their own!

For more tips for helping your child develop independence visit:

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