As your young children grow older, they’ll naturally need to become more independent. You should start teaching your child how to think and act independently at a young age so that they develop this skill as they develop other skills.
Here are some ways you can help your child start to think and act as an individual:
- Give in stages: Giving young children a simple choice is a way to encourage decision making. For example, let them pick between a couple of shirts for what they want to wear instead of deciding for them. As they grow older you can have them make more choices, like how to spend their allowance, for example.
- Guide, don’t control: You can help your children make decisions by asking them questions and being a good listener. They may be more responsive to your suggestions if they’re given as such and not as demands.
- Let them make mistakes: Children who don’t like to do things on their own, but want an adult to do it instead, may be afraid of making mistakes. Let your children know that everyone makes mistakes and that you’re there to help. Developing a habit of rescuing your children from difficulties will in turn stifle their ability to problem solve for themselves.
- Actions do have consequences: If the limits and consequences for your children are set and made clear, make sure that you follow through on what you say. Part of children developing into independent people is for them to develop a sense of responsibility for themselves.
- Pick your battles: If your children make small decisions that you don’t agree with, like dressing in something that you find ridiculous, it’s not necessary to start an argument with them over it. Realize that your conceding these small things can help them develop the confidence to make more decisions for themselves.
By using positive encouragement and reinforcements, your children will soon develop the skills they need to be independent so that they can grow into confident, independent adults.
Please share any other advice you have for helping your children become independent here!