Encouraging Independence In Children


Parenthood is full of precious moments. From seeing two lines on the pregnancy test, feeling the first movements and kicks to birth, first smile, first drawing. The list is endless! 
To me though, the sweetest and most enjoyable thing about being a mother is seeing my son become independent. I love observing how he develops his communication, social and motor skills. From seemingly little things, like him holding the teether in his hand for the first time to first steps, brushing teeth, building sentences or making his own choices. It melts my heart.



Why are some kids not independent?
Well, the answer is the family house. Some parents do not have the patience to share the duties with their kids. Because cleaning, vacuuming, or doing laundry takes twice as long with them. 
I totally understand that it can be difficult, and I don't judge the parents who don't want to involve their kids in the domestic duties, but I also know that if children are not thought to put their toys back as toddlers, most likely they won't have clean rooms as teenagers
Last but not least- some children have too many toys and clothes, and they simply can not manage to keep them all organised. Unnecessary clutter is overwhelming for adults, let alone for kidsToy rotation and a decent declutter can solve this issue 😊


How to encourage independence in children? 
START EARLY
Independent kids are happy kids. Allow your child to brush their hair and choose their outfit, let them take part in preparing food and cleaning. Trust me, even vacuuming is exciting for kids! People are born with this phenomenal gift of curiosity that needs nurturing.
My son loves snacking on fruits, but he is much happier when he can pick the fruit he wants to eat, wash it, cut it and put it on the plate. Obviously, I do not advise handing a massive knife to a toddler, but there are some handy tools that kids can use under the constant supervision of adults.




TEACH YOUR CHILD A POSITIVE APPROACH TO LIFE
Try not to complain in front of your kids about having to cook 'this f%$&*#^ dinner' or doing 'the f%$&*#^ dishes again'. Aim to teach your offspring a positive approach to life. 

PS I, too, sometimes wish that the magic cleaning/ running errands/ cooking/ facing problems fairy existed 😊 I know just how overwhelming lives is sometimes.

LEAVE SOME CLEANING TOOLS AVAILABLE FOR THEM
It's a good idea to leave some age-appropriate cleaning supplies accessible for your child. You can prepare a small cleaning caddy for them or simply leave a cleaning rug or a dustpan and a brush set somewhere your child can easily reach. You will soon realise that they are using them eagerly!
This rule applies to all areas of life- if they have an easily accessible hairbrush, they will soon learn to brush their hair. If they can access their clothes, they will learn to dress etc. 

CONCENTRATE ON BUILDING THEIR PHYSICAL CONFIDENCE AND DEVELOPING GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
Physically confident children are less anxious, have higher self-esteem and better social skills.
When it comes to supporting a baby's physical development, there are two main aspects to think about:
Firstly, building the baby's muscle strength by practising 'tummy time' daily. Secondly, not hurting your baby.
Make sure to use the right baby carriers and introduce them only at the right time (when your child sits up independently). Please do not sit train babies that are not ready to sit up independently. It will cause more harm than good. Babies are highly intelligent creatures, and they will master all necessary skills when they are ready to :) 

BE A TRUSTING AND CONFIDENCE ENCOURAGING PARENT
Kids who grow up with trusting and confidence encouraging parents are much more independent and successful in their lives. Today your child confidently chooses their favourite outfit, the toys they want to play with, or their favourite fruit. Tomorrow they will confidently decide which house to buy, which business to invest in or which escape route is the safest from the building on fire. 
If parents don't trust that their child can make a sandwich at the age of 8, they won't trust that they can build a happy family or a successful company as an adult. It is important that we give our kids roots as well as wings and the courage to fly.


DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE GIFT OF LOVE
The children who feel loved are more confident and independent. We can not forget to love and accept our children unconditionally and remind them daily how much they mean to us. 

VALUE THEIR EFFORT
Your child will most likely spill some water when pouring it into the glass for the first time. Your reaction to it will have a massive impact on the way they feel, on their self-confidence and if they ever decided to try pouring the water again.
We have to let our kids know that it is OK to make mistakes. And that we love them unconditionally, no matter what.

DON'T COMPARE YOUR CHILD TO OTHERS
Don't compare your child to other kids, neither their intelligence and skills nor their looks. They are one of a kind! Instead, you can explain to them that there will always be somebody taller/ shorter, slimmer/ chubbier than them, and it's OK. And they are perfect just the way they are. 


NEVER MOCK YOUR KID!
Too many times I have witnessed parents mocking their kids for the smelly poop they made, their spelling mistakes. For crying. For falling off the bicycle. For the way they look. 
I can not find the right words to express how disgusting it is and how much it ruins one's self-esteem, happiness and sometimes life.
A person constantly bullied at home will not be confident.

TRY THE MONTESSORI APPROACH
I love Maria Montessori's approach to education and bringing up kids. Her method encourages confidence, independence, helps to boost a child's imagination and creativity, and sets no limits in what one can achieve and learn. I highly recommend reading about it, if you haven't already. She was one of the first people to speak publicly about respecting children, and I will be forever grateful for that. 

We are all born with a natural desire to learn, discover and make progress. Every child has the great potential to live a happy and successful life, and every child will if only their parents give them the right tools.
We all have bad days, and we all make mistakes. Parenting is a rollercoaster of emotions, powered by limitless love, sleepless nights and endless visits to the GP. But trust me- all of our efforts will pay off. 
So, chin up, parents! You can do it. 


Gosia x




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14 comments

  1. I'm a very independent person and I can see that my girls are taking after me, especially my youngest.

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    1. Awesome! I truly admire strong, independent womenx

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  2. My mummy loves setting me tasks and asking me to do things for myself, because how would I ever learn myself. Pushing kids out of their comfort zone helps as well x

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    1. Couldn't agree more! Thanks for reading Isabella and Isabella's mum x

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  3. This is such a great post. I agree with all you have said. I am working on making my kids more independent and confident in time for school starting in Sept.

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  4. Great post! My eldest daughter really struggles with separation anxiety and this is really great advice!

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  5. I step back from situations when I hear "mummy, I want to do it". Yes things can take longer to get done but we need to give our kids independence when they want it. As you said, it's necessary for later life too.

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    1. It is! The independent kids will be independent adults, free and powerful :)

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  6. My kids love doing some of the jobs around the house, like dusting and vacuuming. Makes my life easier too

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  7. Hey Gosia, great post! I'll be sharing this on my Facebook page. I also have a couple of related posts over at DynamicDad.uk that you might be interested in - on raising smarter kids & how screen time affects their 'entitlement'. With these combined we'll be raising kids as the best they can be!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Dynaic Dad! It means a lot to me x

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