Children are almost exclusively reliant on their parents throughout infancy. But, as they age it is important for parents to encourage a sense of independence in their children, while still supporting and assisting them. Here, the child care professionals at Celebree Learning Centers explain how to foster independence in children.
Give Children the Ability to Make Choices
Choices give children the ability to improve their decision-making skills, learn what they enjoy and what they are not fond of. While children shouldn’t be given full autonomy over their lives without structure, providing options for children can help them make safe and constructive decisions. For example, giving a child full rein over their breakfast meal may not be the best choice, but allowing a child to decide between scrambled eggs or yogurt and fruit allows them to feel empowered and still make appropriate choices.
Let Children Help Themselves
Children still need help and guidance from their parents. But as they age, they are more and more capable of helping themselves. Allow children to tie their own shoes, zip their own jacket, pack their own lunch, fold laundry or perform any other tasks they are capable of doing. Continuing to help children with tasks they feel they are already able to do themselves can cause frustration or feelings of inadequacy, and can be counterproductive to promoting independence.
Allow Children to Make Mistakes
We all make mistakes—and that’s okay! Mistakes are a valuable and constructive way for children to learn about helpful and hurtful behaviors, and to become comfortable with setbacks and failures. If your child becomes uncertain and frustrated after making a mistake, remind them that mistakes are simply learning opportunities, and that your love for them isn’t reduced by their level of success: it will boost their confidence, and excite them to be challenged and try new things in the future.
Analyze Shortcomings Productively
It can be easy for children to think that they have made a mistake because “they aren’t good enough.” This is a damaging way of thinking, and should be addressed quickly. Guide children toward a more productive analysis of their mistakes or shortcomings. If, for example, your child has a difficult day in school, work with them to determine why they felt frustrated or what may have happened. Did they practice their best manners and behavior? Did they ask questions when they were confused? Instilling this type of thought process in your child will help them to find solutions for success on their own, and begin to promote the idea that each decision they make has its own outcome, some positive and some negative.
How Celebree Learning Centers Can Help
At Celebree Learning Centers, creating a foundation for success is one of our top priorities: not just academically, but also socially and emotionally. Although fostering independence starts at home, we know that our caregivers and educators will have an impact on your child’s autonomy. That’s why we carefully screen and select only the best employees, ensuring they have the capability of promoting a positive sense of self and security in your child. For more information about our industry leading programs, contact us today!