The most empowering thing we can do for our children is to teach them to be independent and to be able to make decisions and take actions on their own. This will raise their self-esteem, and enable them to handle any situation with confidence. Here are eight effective and fun ways to help your child become more independent.
Enlist your child’s help. Tell them that you’ve noticed that there are things they can do on their own that you have been doing for them, and then ask for their help in allowing you to let them do those things. This makes it appear as if they are helping you to change, and not the other way around. It also fosters cooperation.
Seek out opportunities to create more independence. Create a list of things you believe your child could do on their own and then have them choose which ones they feel they would like to do. This empowers them to make decisions on their own, and try to do more things without your help.
Don’t try to hand over all the responsibilities at once, this will only create overwhelm for your child. So, choose a few things at a time, and leave the rest until after the first few things have been implemented.
Plan ahead for things to take more time than they usually do. Kids usually don’t share the same urgency as adults do, so give them the time they need in order to get things done on their own - without interfering. This allows them to feel more independent and allows you to not feel rushed and end up doing things for your child out of time constraints.
If things get too serious, your child will begin resisting this change, so make things fun. Create fun challenges that set your child up for success from the very beginning. Inject a sense of fun into making your child more independent and it won’t be a struggle.
Don’t expect perfection. Your goal is to create more independence, not to get things done perfectly, or as well as you’d do them. The point is to allow your child to make mistakes without judgment. That will show them that mistakes are part of life, not something to be ashamed of.
Always give them praise for a job well done, even if it’s not done “right” or the way you’d do things. A little praise will go a long way towards building your child’s self-esteem and confidence, and that will help them with their own independence.
Be aware of when things aren’t optimal with your child. Are they tired or sick? Choose a time to implement change that they’ll be receptive to. The time to introduce new responsibilities is when things are already smooth sailing.