How to Help Your Child Become More Independent

Growing up and learning that we have to take care of ourselves, in everything from how we wash and dress in the morning, to how we interact with the people we meet on a day to day basis is part of growing up and becoming an adult. However, when dealing with a young child, it is to be expected that this process will take time and patience to develop in your child. As children grow up into adolescents, they will crave independence from their parents. However, as toddlers, the thought of being separated from their parents and expected to do some things by themselves is a daunting one.

Bear in mind that your child has spent most of its life up until this point not needing to be responsible or independent for anything in its welfare, so naturally, it is a learning curve. The very idea of not having one of their parents around them constantly is enough to make some smaller children upset on the first day at kindergarten. However, as they grow and develop socially, they will realize that they need to adapt to this new environment and group of people.  

This is all a part of teaching your child independence, but this is something they cannot achieve properly without parental guidance. So let us consider some of the most highly recommended strategies for introducing your child to the idea of independence.

Be empathetic to your child’s struggle

The idea of being left on its own in a new environment without its parents is likely to be a daunting prospect as during her entire existence up until the present, she always has had someone familiar who has been a constant companion, provider and carer.  

Therefore making sure that you are there emotionally for your child and that you are not belittling its emotions by saying things like “everybody has to grow up” and “stop being a baby” is essential for your child’s emotional wellbeing. If your child asks for your help with a certain task, be positive and reinforce how proud you are of it for trying to do it on its own before calling you to help. 

Fixed Routines

It has long been understood by pediatric psychologists that children are much happier in general when they have a fixed routine that is followed every day. This helps your child to know what to expect every day and helps them feel at ease with the events that may occur throughout its day. 

Using this to your advantage, you can begin by giving your child small and easily completed tasks and responsibilities, such as picking all its toys up when it has finished playing with them, in order to help them understand the concept of independence in a context they understand. Once your child understands exactly what it needs to do every day, chances are it will complete these tasks without too much prompting.

Give your child decision-making responsibilities sometimes.

Now obviously one of your jobs as a parent is to set appropriate boundaries and ultimately make most of the decisions regarding the more important aspects of your child’s life on its behalf. However, you need to give your child free rein to make their own decisions some of the time. 

Do not try and extend too much of a controlling hand over your child, such as in deciding in what order it can have its supper. While you may prefer your child does so in a certain order, micromanaging the way it prefers to do things in some cases can hinder its journey to independent decision making.

Limit their choices

In some situations, you will need to control the decisions that are made for your child. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to make all the decisions. For example, if you are planning a fun day out and it isn’t a surprise, rather than arbitrarily picking an activity you think your child may like, only to find out that they weren’t in the mood to go to the park that day, provide an opportunity to make a choice.

So rather than mandating a forced trip to the park, give your child the option of three appropriate activities to choose from (such as going to the park, the beach or to Grandma’s house) which will help to lay a sturdy foundation to learn how to make more complex decisions later in life by giving it the freedom of choice within certain parameters.

Don’t be overbearing!

It is normal and natural for you to want to assist your child with everything in its life, from cutting their food to holding her hands as you walk down the road. While some of these are completely necessary for early childhood, as your child gets older, not only will it crave independence, assistance will also become unnecessary as your child develops. 

In fact, chances are everybody has seen this situation in the past, a child that grew up with controlling and overbearing parents. Usually, those children tend to grasp independence a lot later than those whose parents allow their children to explore and work things out for themselves, which helps build a strong base for many problem-solving skills as an adult. In some situations, children learn the best when given the necessary leeway to figure things out for themselves and to self-evaluate their behavior. 

Kidz Village is a trusted and reputable name amongst the crowds of International Kindergartens in Bangkok. Our reputation has developed from our dedication to using only the best and most highly regarded teaching methodologies and high-quality resources in order to give our students the best possible chance at academic and personal success. For more information on who we are, our facilities or to consult with an experienced member of staff, please do not hesitate to contact us on +66- 2-888-3337