Many parents love making decisions for their children from the moment they were born. What they eat, what they wear, when they play, when they sleep. While children may need an adult’s help in some decision, many parents forget that their biggest goal is to help their children be independent.
Your children’s need to be cared for and protected change as they approach different stages in life. As they grow, you will need to nurture their self-help skills so they can care for themselves without needing any assistance from others.
Pay attention to your children and learn about their personalities. Find out what their interests are and guide them towards the right decisions in life, instead of ordering them about.
These 5 parenting tips should help you support your child’s growing independence:
1. Let them make choices
Instead of just plonking down a plate of beans in front of your toddler, realise that they’re capable of making a decision on their own. Give them the opportunity to make positive choices, like if they prefer french beans or carrots. Ask them what colour of socks they prefer wearing instead of picking out the entire outfit for them. Children need to learn to choose what they like from what they don’t from a young age. You can start when they are just 2 – 3 years old. Their choices matter, and will help form their personalities later in life.
2. Have family conversations
Are you a fan of talking about your child behind closed doors? Children, even when they’re in nursery school, should be allowed to sit in on family discussions. You’d be surprised at how many bright ideas they have, and how perceptive they can be. Making them part of family discussions helps your children to know that his / her voice matters. Listening to your children also helps you to get to know them better, which fosters closer parent-child relationships.
3. Put them in charge of little tasks
This shouldn’t be difficult, since everyone wants a little helper around. Children thrive in feeling helpful, so the next time you need to set the table, get your little one to help with the table mat, or cutlery (provided there aren’t any knives involved).
4. Keep encouraging them
Children need a great deal of encouragement. When your child has struggled with a difficult task, tell him or her how proud you are of the effort they put in. While the results may not be spectacular, they should know that they are worthy of the time and work they put in.
5. Trust that they can get to the finish line
As children grow and learn, there will be many mistakes along the way. To help them get past the obstacles and shine in the end, you need to be a constant support structure. You need to be the one person who never stops believing in them. Help them when they need help, but take a step back when they’re ready to do it on their own.
Do you have any parenting tips that have worked out for you? Share them with other thriving parents in the comments below or on our Facebook page!