How to Encourage Independence in Your Kids

encourage independence in kids

According to experts, kids 4 years and above are at the perfect age to become independent, and one of the best gifts you can give yourself as a parent is to raise self-sufficient children. It takes a whole lot of burden off your shoulders.

Of course, no child is exclusively independent, as even adults rely on each other and have support systems. But it helps to have a child capable of handling minor tasks on their own without yelling out your name for help every minute. So, if you’re tired of your kids being over-reliant on you, here’s how to help them become independent.

1. Allow Them to Make Mistakes and Learn from Them

Mistakes offer important opportunities to teach your child. The more they learn, the more independent they become. So, don’t get too worked up when your little one makes a mistake. Instead, let them know it’s OK and help them brainstorm how best to right their wrong and do better the next time.

The last thing you want to do is always intervene or cover your child’s mistake. Doing that shields them from the consequences, and they learn nothing. Even worse, they’ll be more likely to repeat that mistake many times. Let your child experience the discomfort of a mistake.

Understandably it’s hard to see your little one uncomfortable, but you’ll be helping them to develop a growth and problem-solving mindset, making them more independent in the future.

2. Strengthen Their Weaknesses

Some children may be over-dependent because they’re unable to control some areas of their lives. For example, a child with an intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) may have difficulties with communicating, remembering instructions, and understanding rules.

That can affect their ability to be independent, making them extra reliant on their parents and guardians even into young adulthood. But you can strengthen this weakness by finding the right support for them.

For example, you can enroll your child in supported living for young adults with IDDs. They’ll be able to benefit from a supported living residence and thrive through independence.

3. Step Back as Often as Possible

It’s almost impossible to encourage independence in a child when you’re constantly “helicoptering” over them. Sometimes, it helps to step a little to allow them to explore their independence. You can even help by giving them some tasks to handle on their own.

For example, you can start allowing your child to lay their beds when they wake up or attempt tying their shoes unaided. Yes, mistakes will be made, but that’s where the essence of the first point comes in. It will also take time for them to get things right, which is why the next point is important.

independent kids

4. Be Patient with the Training Process

Training is essential in every child’s life and goes beyond just teaching or instructing. It’s a constant cycle of instruction, interference, consequences, and correction until you’re able to carve the desired behavior. Yes, the process can feel burdensome and time-consuming, but it’s necessary if you want your child to be independent.

How to Encourage Independence in Kids: In Conclusion

It’s advisable to start training your little one as early as possible to do the basic things, from taking out the trash to doing the dishes. When you encourage independence in this way, they’ll learn with time and save you a lot of trouble in the future.

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