It is so very important to teach our children how to be independent. As parents, our babies start as these little bundles of joys who need us for everything. And we love it. We want them to always need us, because we want to always be there for them. As these little people start to grow, we realize that they need to have independence. A child who is independent tends to be happier, easier to care for, and becomes a go-getter in life. That doesn’t mean they don’t always need mom, just in a different way. Teaching children how to be independent is important in their every day life and school.
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One of the best things you can do is start teaching children early. It might be easy to do it for your child because you are short on time, in a hurry or you think that it is something that they cannot do. If kids are given the chance to do things, as they get older, they will automatically look to you to do it for them.
Let kids choose. Choosing things help kids get a sense of independence. Ask your child what they want to wear. Ask them what they would like to eat. But here’s the trick. Always give limited options. Don’t leave their choices open-ended. If you do, it can overwhelm the child or overwhelm you when you must deal with the choice or have to say no. Ask your child, which of these 2 shirts do you want to wear? Do you want apples or oranges with your lunch?
Plan extra time:
You know you want you child do start doing more things for herself, but it is hard when there a time crunch. It takes you 2 minutes to brush her hair but it takes her 8 minutes. In the morning, budget in more time so that your child can complete the tasks.
Don’t aim for perfect
You are used to things being done by an adult and so the things look like they were done by an adult. Give up on that idea now. Remember, your child is just learning. As long as he finishes the task, praise him. But don’t expect it to be done like you would have done it.
Remind your child everyone struggles
If your little one is getting frustrated because something is hard, remind them that doing something new is hard for everyone. It takes practice. Even Mommy and Daddy struggle with new skills and tasks. Help teach your child ways to cope with being frustrated. Figure out what works best. Maybe it is taking a few second break. Maybe it is taking a deep breath. Maybe teaching your child to laugh at their own mistakes.
Let them know you are always there. No matter how many things your child can do for themselves, you will always be there for them. Make sure they know that. Sometimes, just hearing that reminder can motivate kids into being more independent.
Even older kids who struggle with independence can benefit from these steps. It might be a little harder to break the dependent habit but all kids will benefit from learning to be independent. This book is a great tool for any parent raising children.
Independent Children Thrive in the Classroom
Students who are independent are problem solvers in the classroom. They are confident in their academic ability and collaboration. Once students hit second grade, the goal is for them to be more independent. They are expected to listen and follow directions quickly. They are expected to work independently while the teacher works with small guided reading and math groups. When out on the playground, they will be using their problem solving skills to work out disagreements with friends.
Teaching Children How to be Independent
As teachers, we do a disservice to our students if we do everything for them. Here are a few things you can try tomorrow when teaching children how to be independent.
- Give them classroom jobs. This teaches them responsibility.
- Have students be in charge of keeping their desk and classroom clean.
- Have students hang up their own work and put together his or her memory book.
- Have students choose their own math games if they finish their work early.
- Let students walk to specials or lunch, independently (yes, without you) if you can keep an eye on them. This lets students know that you trust them and their ability to be independent. Obviously, this will depend on your class!