Are you looking for tips on how to raise an independent child
Confident, bursting with energy and with enough sass to set the world on fire, my four year old knows a thing or two about independence. She is going to single handedly change the world. Then there are days when she refuses to dress herself, and lo and behold, I have stepped in and taken away her choice. Time is ticking, and if we make it to the school gate on time, it will be a miracle.
You see. Parents like to run on a schedule. It’s how we make it through the day. But in a tiny moment, we take away our child’s independence and suddenly, they can’t do anything without you.
Let me tell you a secret. Independent children depend on you to give them opportunities to make decisions for themselves.
Want to know how to raise an independent child? Here are our 7 parenting tips to get you started.
How to raise an independent child
Here are some really useful ideas.
Identify tasks and opportunities
You are your kid’s greatest role model. From the moment they are born to when they fly the nest, you are their guidance, anchor and shield in your child’s daily life. They watch how you interact with others, how you speak, how you dress, wash, brush your teeth.
After all that watching and learning, there comes the point when your child will want to do things for themselves, and that is ok. Ask your little one what they feel “big” enough to take on and what that looks like to them.
So make a list. Identify the things that they can do solo like making their bed, putting their dirty clothes in the laundry basket, getting dressed etc. The more responsibility your child feels comfortable taking on will increase their willingness to try.
How To Raise An Independent Child
Advance notice is key – How To Raise An Independent Child
Remember the stress you felt when you had less than twenty minutes to get your little one dressed; teeth brushed, hair up and out the door on time for school? Well, guess what? Your little one felt all that stress too!
Giving your child advance notice or a heads up of how the day will pan out will encourage them to make better choices. What’s more, take a moment to listen to how you speak to your child. Are you impatient? Are you calm? Are you adding to the stress of the moment?
Allow your child to “help” you. Recognise that they are not a little kid anymore, and see that they are trying to do “big kid” jobs! Praise them for how well they are doing, and focus on all the positives. Whatever you do, don’t say things like, “you’re not a baby anymore!” Preschoolers and beyond can be pretty sensitive about the word baby. So avoid it at all costs!
Now that you’ve addressed what your not so little child can do all by herself, allow for enough time. If it takes her 10 minutes to get dressed, start your morning routine 10 minutes earlier.
Gaining independence is not time-dependent. You don’t need to rush your child to increase their self-motivation or self-belief. You need to give them space and time to figure it out on their own. When the clock is ticking, and you’re going to be late, swooping in at the last minute is more detrimental to their development than you realise. As soon as self-doubt creeps in and all that hard work takes a knock, your child may experience a lack of self-esteem.
So build them up, and make time for them to thrive.
Leave perfection at the door that is How To Raise An Independent Child
Children are messy. Accidents happen, and drawing attention to these moments will only hinder their self-esteem. So instead of making an issue, show her how to clean it up without criticism. Make a point that everyone makes mistakes, and accidents do happen – even to you!
Dance in the rain
As a parent, you are responsible for laying out the tools for your child to learn and grow. So read to them as much as you can from the moment they enter this world. Show them how to brush their teeth, brush their hair and wash in the bath.
Your parenting toolkit may include:
Nature: spending time in the outdoors not only increases activity levels, but it reduces stress, improves concentration and encourages better sleep. What’s more, it allows your child to explore, investigate and use their imagination!
Storytelling: not just for bedtime! Storytelling is one of the foundations of your child’s speech and language development, as well as understanding larger concepts about culture and the world around them.
Leading by example: if you want to teach your child to brush their teeth, then show them how it’s done. With a myriad of baby electric toothbrushes, flavoured toothpaste and sticker reward charts around, there’s a lot to help get your little one enthusiastic about their daily routine.
What’s more, if you are free to be yourself around your child, they will feel more confident in themselves. So dance with them in the rain, in your living room, when you’re at the beach. Sing and be silly, and let them join in with all the fun. The more your child can express themself freely, the more confident they will be flying solo.
Positive reinforcement is How To Raise An Independent Child
Nothing is more empowering to a child than hearing how well they have done. So praise good behaviour and a job well done. Equally, when they stumble and fall, don’t focus on the negative. Say things like, “I’ll bet you’ll smash it tomorrow,” or “next time you’ll know what to expect” or “well done for trying.”
How To Raise An Independent Child – Encourage problem-solving
Children are full of ideas. Some of them aren’t practical in the slightest and involve dinosaurs returning to life or climbing vertical surfaces that shouldn’t be climbed! But, encouraging your child’s ability to work things out for themselves first is a huge confidence booster. If they struggle to come up with an answer, give them time to think before you offer insight.
How To Raise An Independent Child – Concluding thoughts
Sometimes situations can get the better of us, and it’s no different for your growing child. They might be sick, stressed or adjusting to change. Introducing new responsibilities during this time is generally not a good idea. You may notice some regression in tasks that they had mastered before. They might need your help more too. This, however, is normal. So take a moment to share the load. They’ll bounce back more quickly and be stronger for it too.
Independent children are the movers and shakers, the inventors and explorers. Sometimes they are messy and get things wrong. But, one day, they will say, “I did it!” That moment is worth everything.
I do hope you have enjoyed this post on How To Raise An Independent Child