One of the biggest challenges you face when raising children is knowing if you’re doing a good job. It’s only natural to want to protect your children and do everything for them to protect them from accidents. As much as babies and toddlers need this type of attention, once they start growing up it’s important to help them become independent.
While we all know that the first couple of years a baby is meant to be fully taken care of, once they start acquiring new abilities you can slowly delegate some chores or detach yourself from them. For example, at 2-years-old you can start sending them on playdates or to a nursery so they get some time away from mom and dad. Once they can walk without tumbling down, you can have them take their own diapers to the trash can by just walking a few steps. The sooner you begin to form them to be independent, the easier it’ll be for them when the big steps come; like going to kindergarten, or doing major chores.
How will a Dependent Child Grow up?
Much is said about how parents will suffer if they raise dependent children. Doing everything for them and letting them off the hook on responsibilities will ultimately force parents to take care of their children until a very developed age. Also, dependency will affect your children’s life when they reach adolescence and so on. Dependent people tend to be more insecure, they can feel less valuable than other people because they have no achievements of their own, and they can even have difficulty relating to friends and love interests.
If you are currently raising children but don’t really know how to make them take on responsibilities and do things on their own, don’t miss out on these helpful tips to raise independent children.
1. Identify Small Opportunities for Them to Start
If you keep up with the things your kids need to do regularly and that they are able to do safely, you are in the perfect opportunity to teach them how to do it themselves. You can start by making a list of risk-free activities for their age then start tackling them one by one, work on each one until you think they get the hang of them, and move on to the next. Some of these activities include:
- Brushing their teeth
- Making the bed
- Putting away their toys at night
- Packing their lunch
- Getting dressed in the morning
2. Prioritize the Tasks You’re Giving Them
Once you have a list of things your kids are able to do without risk and they are ready to start learning to do, think about those things that would save you more time or be more helpful for you and your daily routine. You can also talk to your children and ask them which tasks do they feel they’re old enough to do. This way they’ll tell you what they’re eager to do, and so they will learn faster.
3. Set Some Extra Time and Don’t Micromanage
Kids are learning to do the most basic activities and this could take them a while until they feel like they master it. The best way to do this without affecting your routine so you don’t end up doing it yourself is to set some extra time for the task. Wake your kid up a few minutes earlier so they can brush their own hair and teeth. Another important tip is that you don’t hover around them, which can make them nervous and make more mistakes. You have to learn to trust them more and more.
4. Don’t Try to Get Perfect Results
As it happens with every person in the world, while learning to do something new it’s only natural to make some mistakes. Just because it’s an everyday activity to you doesn’t mean it’s the same for your children. So you have to be patient and don’t try to be a perfectionist, and don’t put your kids down when they don’t get it right.
5. Set a Routine for Them
Your kids will find it easier to become independent when the tasks they are learning become part of their routine. Practice makes perfect, and after a few weeks of doing the same task over and over again, they’ll soon see it as something normal and do it quickly and without much mess.
6. Create a Chore Task
Sometimes some chores might be a bit confusing for children because parents are not clear enough with the instructions. Even if you know what “clean your room” means, your kids might not be aware of what this means. If you create a fun and colorful chore task where you break down this chore they’ll then know they have to make their bed, pick up their toys and open the window before going to school. There are several tasks that you can assign to your children according to their age:
7. Let Them Experience the Consequences of Not Being Responsible
One of the hardest parts of raising independent children, yet among the top parenting tips, is letting them experience negative emotions as a consequence of not being responsible. Hard as it is, it’s necessary that they experience this for themselves so they’ll be aware of the importance of independence. For example, if your kid forgets their tennis shoes for soccer practice, they are going to sit through their practice and watch others instead of having you drive home to get them. Most likely, they’ll remember to bring their tennis shoes from now on in order to not have this experience again!
8. Praise Them when They Do Something Good
Independence also comes with many positive aspects, and you should enforce this feeling in your children so it becomes something they enjoy rather than suffer. When they accomplish a task correctly you can praise them, and when something doesn’t come out well you can lift up their spirits by letting them know next time they’ll do better. In your list of parenting tips, praise is your most valuable tool.
We hope these invaluable parenting tips inspire you as parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding things in this world. You must remember that you won’t always be there for them and the more independent you raise your kids to be, the easier they’ll manage themselves through life.