Teaching your child to be independence may sound easy but in reality, it isn't. Why? Remember the last time you volunteered to do your daughter's household chores so she can read more books? Wasn't it just yesterday that you helped your son finish his book review? Sheltering and helping your children too much have its consequences. Maybe it's time for you to loosen up a little bit and encourage them to stand on their own.
Follow the steps below in helping your child gain independence.
Provide Your Child Their "Me" Time
As much as possible, leave your child for small periods of time. By doing so, they will learn that they are still safe without your presence. Let them do things on their own but encourage them to ask for help when needed.
Provide Your Child "Little Projects"
You can assign projects to your children that are compatible with their hobbies or other things they like to do. Make sure that they are aware what the goals of the project are and show them yourself how the project is done. You can also set a timeline of the project but allow them to proceed at their own pace.
Allow Your Child to Fail
Sometimes, failures helps your child learn things (albeit the hard way). Experiencing failure does help them mature into more independent and stronger individuals. Tell your child that everyone makes mistakes and it is the effort that counts. Assure them that you love them no matter the outcome. You can encourage them to do the job using another approach. This will not only promote self-reliance but creativity as well. You can help them to view mistakes as feedback that provides information about a better way next time (i.e. they learned what does not work).
A good example is setting up and enforcing a bedtime routine. You can make the same time every night as bed time. You would be surprised that after a few weeks, your children will brush their teeth and take a bath on their own before bedtime (but only if you consistently enforce it and have consequences to back you up).
Allow Your Child to Speak and Choose Independently
It may require patience on your part but allowing your children to speak and make decisions independently is a step closer to being self-reliant. Let them choose what they want to wear on Thanksgiving Day. Let them decide what they want to eat for lunch (provide a healthy selection). However, you should also see to it that they know the limitations that exist.
Assign Your Child Some Household Chores
You will want to hold your child responsible with light household tasks; e.g. feeding the fish and watering the plants. It is also important to stress that taking care of their possessions is a priority.
Praise Your Child
Children are always on the lookout for approval. Praising your child for a job well done will increase their self-esteem and self-reliance; but be careful that you do not over do it. Children need to internalize their feelings of worth. Excessive praise from parents will teach children to seek outside approval; this makes them more vulnerable to pressure from peers. It is better ask your children how they feel about a particular accomplishment and let them talk about the pride they have inside.
The greatest gift you can pass on to your child is independence; it will greatly contribute to their success later in life.