If your family has a busy, active lifestyle, you’re probably constantly on the go and never have enough time. It’s easy to lose your patience and feel overwhelmed in the midst of the rush and chaos. We get it and have been there ourselves – more than once. Teaching your kids to be independent is not only important for their growth and development, but it will help you have less on your plate and feel less stressed.
1. Encourage and Show Your Child How to Do Things on Their Own
We often think that if we let our kids do things on their own, it either won’t be done right or it will take too long. And while kids are learning, sometimes things are not done right and take twice as long to be completed. At first, having your child complete tasks may require more patience, but in the long run, it will save you time. It will also teach them how to begin caring for themselves and their needs. When we do everything for our kids, they don’t have the chance to learn. They won’t be able to build confidence in their abilities. Making a daily effort to let your child be actively involved in everyday tasks and chores will go a long way.
2. Set Clear Guidelines and Expectations
Setting guidelines will help your child understand what’s expected of them. Kids understand things better when it’s spelled out for them. Each child learns differently and has different strengths. Catering to your child’s strength is important. It helps build their confidence when they are able to accomplish things. This will foster their independence!
3. Let Your Child Know It’s Ok to Make Mistakes
It’s hard watching our kids fail. As parents, we just want to fix everything and help our kids feel better. But one of the best life lessons we can ever teach our kids is that it’s ok to make mistakes! Mistakes are learning opportunities. Listen to their frustrations when something doesn’t go as planned. And encourage your child to bounce back and try again. If we fix everything for our kids, they will rely less on themselves and more on us. It will make life harder for them as they grow up. Instead, empower your child by showing them that they can trust and rely on themselves.
4. Teaching Life Skills
Even though adult life is a couple of decades away for our little ones, it never hurts to set a foundation of strong life skills from an early age. Let your child join you in the kitchen when you’re making breakfast on the weekends. Show them how to pick up after themselves – whether its toys or clothes. Once they pick up their clothes, show them how you do the laundry. And as they grow older, you can begin introducing financial skills, like how to save up allowance money or how to keep a budget.
5. Teach How to Work and the Satisfaction of a Job Well Done
Life moves at the speed of light today. Not just for us parents, but for our children too. Things are handled quickly and we are able to experience instant gratification constantly from our digital devices. But there’s still a lot of things in life that don’t operate like this. If we don’t require our kids to learn how to work and to put effort into working, they aren’t going to do it. But a good work ethic can open new doors, introduce new opportunities, and take you far in life. Our kids can also learn the satisfaction and sense of pride that stems from working hard and achieving something.
And mama, don’t feel bad if the majority of your days aren’t filled with independent building activities and life skills lessons. When our little ones are so young, sometimes we are just doing our best to survive and make it through the day. As your children age, it will get easier to think about what types of things your kids will need to know to be successfully outside of your home. These tips and guidelines are just ideas to help you get started. As always, do what works best for you and your child. After all, all kiddos are different – some are naturally more mature and responsible, while others need more guidance towards responsibility.