Independence looks different at every age, and can be a very scary stage of parenting for parents! However, teaching your child decision-making skills and letting them begin to take control of their daily routines and choices can greatly benefit their growth. Here are a few age-appropriate ways to start introducing your child to independence:
Ask for their opinion
Whether it’s choosing between an apple or orange in their lunch box, or between a dress or leggings for school, allowing your child to give input during their daily routine gives them experience making decisions for themselves.
Tackling “big kid” tasks can be overwhelming for your child at first, but making physical lists for them to refer to can be helpful. Try creating a list for your child of their nightly routine (brush teeth, put on pajamas, etc.) and encourage them to go down the list all by themselves without you reminding them. It won’t be perfect right away, but with time your child will start to learn their own routines and be able to check off every task without help!
Praise small victories
Tying their own shoes in the morning might feel inconsequential after you’ve packed their lunch, brushed their hair, and picked out their outfit, but it’s still an accomplishment! Your child will react better to positivity after small steps toward independence than negativity about all the tasks they weren’t able to do independently.
Independence won’t be accomplished overnight, and it can be difficult and frustrating to stand back and let your child take on tasks that you may be able to do faster and more effectively. However, the extra time and effort that your child needs to complete small tasks is what helps them learn and grow. Even if it means getting up 10 minutes earlier than normal to allow extra time for your child to get ready on their own, that patience pays off as your child develops independence.
Heaven’s Elect Christian Learning Center is a Non-denominational Christian childcare center fully licensed by the state of Michigan. Our Midland childcare center has been serving the community since 2000. Please contact us at heavenselect.com.