Encouraging Independence

During their formative years, it is but natural for children to be dependent on their parents. As they mature, they should develop the skills necessary to become independent. It starts with little things like learning how to get their own glass of water, tying their own shoe laces, and taking a bath on their own. Letting your children do things for themselves does not mean that you are not willing to take care of them anymore. These are basic life skills that they need to learn. One of the biggest mistakes that parents can make is to coddle their children and do everything for them. When they grow up to be adults, they will not know how to take care of themselves.

my little helperMy little girl loves helping me in the kitchen.

To encourage independence, teach your children to do specific age-appropriate tasks. Rather than doing it for them, you can merely talk them through the steps in accomplishing the task. For more complicated tasks, it might be necessary for you to demonstrate each step as you explain. Take your cues from your children. If they seem to be having a difficult time completing a step, you can slow down and help them out. Do not be impatient. When a child fails to complete the task, do not feel disappointed – children can sense your disappointment and could feel bad about themselves.

Praise your children for their efforts whether they succeed in completing the task or not. This will encourage them to do the task again next time. Never be critical about your child’s performance. If you need to point out his mistakes, you can do so in a more pleasant tone using statements that are not derogatory. Help him strive for improvement. As you encourage independence, you should also teach your children to learn from their mistakes. These are basic skills that your children can take with them through adulthood.

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