In the early years your children depend on you to keep them safe, feed them and care for them. However, as they grow they become less dependent on you and more self-reliant. Independence is a great characteristic to develop because it will help to prepare children for the demands of adulthood.
To help foster your child’s independence, here are some great tips from St Hilda’s School in Harpenden…
Take a step back
It is natural to feel a bit rejected when your child suddenly wants to start doing things alone, but try not to take this behaviour personally. Children naturally seek more independence as they grow. Try to take a step back and let your son or daughter work things out alone. Allow your child to solve problems, make their own choices and take more risks. This will help to grow their confidence and teach them important life skills.
Give more responsibility
As your child begins to seek more independence, try not to take this personally. In fact try to give your child more responsibility. This could mean asking your child to help with some simple jobs around the house, such as cooking dinner, or taking the dog for a walk. This will increase their feelings of competency and can help to improve your relationship.
Allow your child make their own decisions by offering choices. For example, when you are out shopping for clothes with your child, select two outfits you are happy to buy and then let your child pick one. By offering your child choices, you can help them to feel empowered and show them that their opinions are valued.
Teach a growth mind-set
Help your child to develop a ‘growth mind-set’. This method of positive thinking can support children through many challenges and help to grow their independence. Children with a growth mind-set believe that their abilities will improve over time and they also acknowledge that mistakes can be used as learning opportunities.