Promoting self-reliance in children is each parent's responsibility. It is your task to develop independence in your children as this will greatly help them cope with difficult situations as they grow. Self reliant children have a better sense of judgment and better problem solving skills when compared to those who are not. Being independent early in life has been correlated to individuals who are successful in their chosen fields.
A common mistake among parents is restricting their child's freedom to do simple tasks. Although being protective of children is natural, it is important to give your children freedom to explore things on their own (just make sure that it is in a protective environment). Fostering self-reliance in children will prevent them from being too clingy to older members of the family.
There are a lot of ways on how to promote independence in your child and the basic ones will be discussed below.
You can start fostering self-reliance in your child by providing him with choices. It is best to limit the choices to two things first. A good example is letting him choose which toy he wants; e.g. a rubber ball or some puzzle pieces. By doing this, you are helping him develop his decision-making skills.
If you feel that your children can set simple goals, give them the freedom to do so. You should still be available for guidance. Help them to establish a plan to reach their goals. Setting goals but being unable to reach them will only leave them frustrated. Make sure that their goals are realistic.
Leave Them Alone
It is best to allow your children spend "free play" with themselves and their peers. You don't have to be always by their side while playing. By doing so, you are helping them explore their environment on their own and think for themselves. Before doing so, be sure to provide a safe and child-friendly environment.
Another way to foster self-reliance in children is to provide them with responsibilities. You can start by letting them brush their teeth alone, tying their own laces or feeding themselves. When your child is older, you can assign them to water the plants in the garden or to put away the plates right after dinner. Responsibilities will give your child a sense of achievement and importance. Make sure their responsibilities are appropriate to their stage of development.
As a parent, you should encourage your children to realize their dreams. Allow them to pursue their own passions; e.g. baseball or playing the piano. You should be there to guide them, not to tell them what to do.
Praise Them for Their Efforts in Moderation
Approval from parents is important for children; however, constantly showering them with praises and approval will teach them to seek the approval of others (not helpful when it comes to resisting peer pressure). Do not set too high standards as well. Children need to know that mistakes are a part of life and to use them as feedback for further learning.
You will not always be there to guide, protect and look after your child. Promoting self-reliance in your children early in life is important so they will be able to handle the challenges encountered throughout life.