With the development of independence in young children comes the development of patience for parents. In today’s world, we live fast paced lives. It often comes down to the parents completing simple tasks for their child to simply save on time. These simple tasks are what build responsibility and self resilience in our children. When children are encouraged to do things for themselves their self confidence improves. Here are some helpful ways to encourage the development of independence in your young child.
At first, try a fifty-fifty approach. For example, “You put your left shoe on and I will help you with the right shoe”. This approach allows your child to start believing in themselves.
Create an environment that is child accessible. Start by having stools around the house that they can use to reach the sink and other items that they are just a little to small to reach. Have hooks or shelves at their height to place their coats, shoes and other outdoor items.
Create an organized play area. Create a toy area that is organized for easy clean up. Children will play longer and clean up more diligently when the expectations are clear, and their play area is organized.
Allow yourself more time. When you ask your child to complete a task independently especially at first, allow yourself more time, you will need it. Parents are often guilty of becoming frustrated when it is taking too long and they risk being late.
Allow your child to make small decisions. Give your child the task of choosing their clothes for that day. If this task is not achievable within the limited time in the morning, have your child choose the night before. Involve your child in making their snack or lunch for school. This promotes decision making and healthy eating habits.
Praise their efforts. Even though their first few attempts may be unsuccessful they are developing and growing each time they try.
Allow yourself to leave things be. It maybe hard to control the urge to fix what your child has done because it is not done exactly how you would do it. Leave it. Every time they see you fixing what they have done, deters them from completing the task next time and can affect their self esteem.