10 effective ways to raise an independent child
As a parent, most of you would agree with me on how difficult it is to be a parent who doesn’t come across as too strict or too relaxed to their kids. Our kids are smarter than we know, yet, rarely understanding the concept of doing things on time and being responsible for their actions.
I often experience Ayaansh dozing off in his online classes even after I try to keep him awake through the classes. His answers would be, “I already know this” or “I am bored and sleepy” or asking me “how much more time are going to be the classes?”
We parents also try to find ways to make our kids independent in the right way, without the kids feeling it as a punishment. I believe that it is completely on us to instill responsibilities and independence in our kids by guiding them the right direction with a few tricks and let them discover their own independence in their own way.
Why Should Kids Learn To Be Independent?
- Independent children tend to be confident in themselves.
- Independent kids know themselves better and turn to be happy individuals.
- Independent kids learn life skills early in life.
- Independent kids can make them handle challenges and demands of adulthood.
- It helps kids to understand his/her mistakes yet be open to seek parental opinion.
How To Teach Children To Be Independent?
- Avoid Hand-Holding Your Child:
As a new mom, I was always skeptical if my child is doing things in the right way and often would intervene in all his actions. Eventually, I realized that it was wrong on my part and would gradually leave him to make his own decisions. Gradually, I observed that he was being independent and would only seek help or guidance if he actually hit a roadblock.
- Give Him Responsibilities He Can Handle:
In the early age, children can learn about cleaning themselves or keeping their toys in place. Ayaansh loved to assist us in drying clothes or folding his inner wears or t-shirts when he was around 1.5 year old. He also used to pack his toys or books if we planned a short trip to Granny’s place or for a trip. For older kids, we can inculcate independence by teaching them to keep their books, shoes, dresses, etc. in place.
- Give them choices with limited options:
Are you going to be attending a party? Then ask your little one to choose his favorite outfit from the 2-3 options you provide. Are you planning to cook carrots and peas today? Then ask them if they want to eat in the form of rice pulao or as cutlet. Let them choose the menu they want to eat but with the options you provide. In this way, carrots and peas are happily consumed by them and you are also relieved that your child has consumed a healthy platter.
- Teaching To Solve Problems Independently:
Off lately the online school seems to irk Ayaansh as his interaction with his friends and teachers are very limited due to one hour’s school time. My son finds it frustrating to be on mute while the teacher talks. So, as a mom, I did explain him the about the limited time for studies and so many things to talk about. Eventually, he figured out his own way to communicate by raising his hands to let him answer the questions and interact with all. This is a small example of what independence can teach children. A valid and logical reasoning seems to be the trick here.
- Let Them Take Own Decisions At Times: As a person who wants to finish the task at hand first and then move to another, I used to continuously pester Ayaansh to finish his ongoing activity and then start with another. But it only led both of us being angry at each other. So I have stopped doing it now and often control my urges to make certain decisions for him. This has given him a certain degree of freedom and he has automatically started completing his tasks happily without any interruption.
- Establish Routine:
Children love routine from the time they are in womb. It eases them out and helps them to transit through the day. The sequential thinking helps them to make decisions too. So, it is very essential to have a set routine. For example, Ayaansh has a set pattern of getting up, folding his bedsheet, washroom rituals, brushing his teeth, have a cup of milk, bathe and get ready for the day. We also have a reading ritual which is fixed, but being readers we enjoy it even out of routine. So these are some of the routine work which is unguided by us on a daily basis and Ayaansh performs on his own.
- Let them Fail And Raise Again:
Let your children try everything, watch them make mistakes. It is okay to fail, try again umpteen times and then succeed. Have patience. Remember, even we adults learnt standing upright after falling down many times, we still are learning and unlearning. Do not yell at your children for their failure, instead tell them it is okay to fail and trying is all that matters. This will boost their self-confidence to try and believe in themselves.
- Teach Negotiation:
Children are more competitive in nature than we estimate them to be. We have seen two children playing with two different toys happily and when you provide them with the 3rd option, the tug-of-war beginning. The child that tends to sacrifice the toy to another often feels dejected and feeling lost. We moms know how difficult it is to pacify them. So, let us teach our children to negotiate or adjust to ease the situation that is presented before them. For example, if you are in a mall and your child wants you to buy a Superman and IronMan toy but you plan to buy him an activity set instead, talk to him about how expensive the toys are and how how activities will enable him to learn more new things. You can also tell him that by using the activity set, he can learn how to save, thus enabling him to learn the concept of saving and buying the action toys few days later. This will help him understand the importance of money and prioritize his own preferences, too.
- Don’t Forget To Encourage:
Encouragement and appreciation are two main things that we humans yearn from others. Right from our looks to recipes, we want the world to give us a thumbs up. So when our children do the right things as they promised in the right way, let us not hesitate to tell them how proud they make us. Positive feedback and validation of parents are essential in shaping the personalities of our kids.
- Have Empathy Towards Him:
As our children are growing they tend to learn about being independent gradually. Do not set high expectations and take it easy on them. Remember, they are tiny individuals exploring themselves and things around them and it won’t be easy for them too. As a parent try to avoid putting them down or scolding them in case they fail to perform small tasks at hand. Let us be out there to support them whenever needed and have a child-led atmosphere at home.
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