Handy Tips for Growing Independent Children
School is a big place, full of possibilities for your young child, and teaching them ways to be independent now will prepare them to bring their best to school every day.
Why independence? Having a sense of control and being able to make simple choices can help increase your child’s self-esteem. This instils confidence in themselves and pride in the things they do. It also fosters perseverance, so that your child can be self-reliant in all circumstances.
5 ways to be independent at home
- Helping hands. Allow your child to help with simple chores around your home.
- Win-win choices. Let your child make decisions about easy things, so that you’re both being productive, and they learn to share their opinion. For example, “Would you like the blue or yellow plate?” or “What would you like to do first – brush your teeth or use the bathroom?”
- Listen and respect. Children learn respect by how we treat them. When you ask for their opinion, listen to them and respect their decision.
- Praise and repeat. When you see your child doing something well, praise them. Acknowledge the effort and the result. Praising both will encourage your child to repeat good behaviour.
- Help your child learn through logical consequences when it is safe to do so. For example, they may refuse to put shoes on to go for a walk. Start the walk anyway and take shoes along, just in case. It won’t be long before they wish they had shoes!
Try these tips to encourage your child’s independence at home and help them grow into assertive, self-motivated individuals who will thrive when they start school.
Your child’s teachers will support them during the school day, but there may be situations where they will need to do things for themselves. You can prepare together by practicing how to:
- Undo tricky zippers
- Open and close lunch containers, food packets and water bottles
- Put on and fasten shoes
- Pack and unpack their school bag – it can be helpful for them to recognise their name, so that they keep track of their own belongings
- Ask an adult for help. Do some role play to help them learn to say, “I need help, please.”
“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.”