How to Encourage Your Child to Become More Independent

Child reading by herself

Over time your child will begin to start doing things for themselves. It may feel like a million miles away if you have a new baby or young children, but it’s coming! I can assure you of that.

Naturally, as they grow up they become more independent but there are ways you can encourage it and help develop your child’s independence. The little things you put into place now will only help them as time passes.

Start Small

Let’s start by starting small. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?

It can take a while to learn new things, especially if your child is much younger and not so aware. A sudden change in rules and responsibilities can feel quite overwhelming for them. To make things easier for your child, break things down into manageable chunks. It’s also handy to explain exactly what you’re doing (even if it sounds like common sense) and why certain tasks need to be carried out.

If you’re encouraging your child to get dressed for school independently you could suggest tackling their shoes first for example. Explain the need to sit on a step and do one shoe at a time. It seems so basic and simplistic to us, but it can feel like a big task for a preschooler. 

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Let Them Make Their Own Choices

An easy way of encouraging your child to be more independent is by letting them make decisions. Or at least look like you’re letting them make decisions!

Decision making is a skill we use every day, so letting your child explore it from an early age is always going to be beneficial. The decision could be something as simple as ‘would you like to wear red socks today or blue socks?’. If you have an older child it could be a decision on what order they want to do their homework in. It’s like we’re dangling a carrot for them only they’re biting and feeling more and more empowered and independent by their decision making.

Learning Accountability

Without sounding like this is a secret dig, a lot of adults suffer with accountability and running away from their problems. Accountability is something that is hugely respected but also something that’s pretty difficult to get right. The best way you can teach accountability is to show it through your actions.

Be brave and show responsibility for your actions. Kids are like sponges, they’re sure to pick it up from you.

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Give Them Chores to Do

Depending on the age of your child, why not give them a couple of chores to do?

It’s common courtesy to tidy up after yourself so I think it’s best to encourage it in a fun way. My three-year-old sings a little jingle at preschool ‘tidy up and put away - ready for another play’. She gives it a bit of sass with hands on the hips and a little wiggle, but it encourages her to tidy up after herself and we encourage it at home too. This responsibility makes her feel important, empowered and encourages independence.

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