5 Tips To Teach Kids To Be More Independent

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Most traditional parents can be categorized as “helicopter” parents who tend be ‘over protective’, in the sense that they want their child to be sheltered from any setback, or harm therefore hover over them and leap in before or at the slightest hint of the child being in trouble or unable to face a test.

happy family child baby girl in arms of his father at home

Children depend on their parents for love, support, guidance and protection and derive a sense of security from them when they are around. As children grow up, parents need to help them become more independent and responsible so that they are ready to face the world’s challenges.

On the contrary, “powerful” parents want their child to be self-reliant, confident and accountable as they age. It can be difficult for parents to see their children fail, be upset or hurt as they have very lovingly brought them up since they were babies, tending to even their smallest needs.

But striking a balance between being caring; while allowing the child to learn from their mistakes or challenges, can instill a sense of security and confidence in the child.

Here are five tips to raise responsible children:

  1. Be a role model:

Young children often imitate their parents, other family members, and learn from the environment they live in, from their peers and mentors-be it coaches or teachers. Take initiative and assume responsibility for providing children with practical and psychological support to help them take up responsibility and pursue independence. Provide a conducive and supportive learning environment and children will often follow lead.

  1. Identify Opportunities, Invest Time And Appreciate them:

Make a list of activities that children can take up, target priorities and teach them one task at a time- to wear clothes themselves, brushing teeth, cleaning up after playing, eating, packing their bags, tying their shoe laces, making their bed or preparing their own meal.

Provide them with a safe environment so that they don’t fall or trip over while trying to reach for things or break glass objects and hurt themselves. Also keep dangerous objects like medicines and chemicals well out of their reach.Compromise on time, they may take much longer than you do, at first, but patiently give them time and don’t jump in. Forget perfection, praise their effort, and if needed, show them a better way of doing the task again.

  1. Allow them to make decisions and express opinions:

Young children need to be given choices to allow them to make a decision e.g. asking them ‘Do you want to visit the zoo or go to the beach?’ or ‘Do you want a boiled or fried egg for breakfast?’

As children grow older, they may be able to take bigger decisions as choose friends as they learn to differentiate between right and wrong. As they grow up to become independent adults this sense of right and wrong will also guide them to achieve success at college and in later life.  Allow them to voice their opinion over an activity you would like them to take up but they are not very enthusiastic about like swimming or music classes, math tutoring etc.

  1. Encourage experimenting,healthy risk-taking and exploration:

Early on, teach children that they cannot always be right the first time, they will make blunders and it’s ok to own up to them. With perseverance and hard work, they will be able to overcome obstacles and sometimes even after repeated tries if they do not succeed; then it’s time to try something new. Some children are shy and take time to ‘leave the nest’ or their ‘parent’s shadow’. From childhood, parents should give children space and unstructured play-time to mingle with their peers, sort out their differences and conflicts and yet be there for them in case they need your support.

  1. Delegate responsibilities; demand accountability:

Older children can be engaged in household chores, assign them responsibilities like taking out the garbage, washing their dishes, cleaning the toilet, doing homework themselves.

Being disciplined and gratifying, giving a realistic try to an achievement opportunity, completing the tasks in hand and being cooperative are signs that a responsible child should display.

Children should be accountable for the outcome of their actions; this is a critical step towards independence. They should be willing to take responsibility of their failures and learn from their failures and mistakes instead of looking for scapegoats or blaming circumstances or fortune.

Children brought up in this way usually have an increased sense of security, competence and confidence in themselves to face the ‘real world’.

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