How And When To Make Kids Independent
First of all, what do we mean by the word INDEPENDENT?
Often, we define independence in terms of being free from and not being controlled by another person, being able to carry on our tasks on our own, making uninfluenced decisions and choices. All the above requires a certain level of maturity because they impact one’s overall life goals and development. People make decisions based on their personal preferences but our duty as parents is to instill the right values and morals in our kids because if a child is well-groomed with the right set of ethics and morals, he/ she is likely to make better choices and justifiable settlements.
Another aspect which draws a thin line between being independent and being detached should be considered and dealt with compassion.
“Raising independent kids should not mean detaching them from the roots..”
In the era of fast paced life, while we cater to make independent kids, we must also not lose the parent to child relationship. Healthier roots yield the best outcomes. We shoulder a bigger responsibility of teaching our kids their duties and outgrow them as better individuals.
There is no particular age when one should start making kids independent but it is an on-going process of continuous learning that comes around with different sets of experiences.
Next comes, how to make kids independent.
There are numerous little instances and children perceive them all and start making impressions of people and situations. During this process, children come across a few instances that they do not completely apprehend but might start forming wrong understandings. It is our duty to keep a watch and try to understand the child psychology, start a healthy conversation before it is too late.
- Be vocal – Be vocal and speak up about decisions you are making. This will make them understand the bigger picture and what made you take a decision.
- Rationalize the cause and effect – Tell the situation and evaluate possible solutions and ask for opinions. Tell them what is ethically correct and what shouldn’t be compromised while taking a decision. Discuss an exceptional decision that you have taken or taking in near future and the consequences that have led to it.
- Seek suggestions – Involve children in all the decisions (whatever feasible) related to family, friends, relatives, etc., and ask them for their advice. This builds strong family bonding and cultivates the very essence of responsibility.
- Instill responsibility – When you start involving children in various discussions, they will realize how elders are fulfilling their responsibilities and making different adjustments to keep the family going. Remember, adjustments are made only to the level which is not impacting one’s peace of mind, daily life routine and growth aspects.
- Instill values and morals – Values and morals serve as lifetime assets that prevent you from any wrong doings or practicing ill behavior with anybody, it could be friends/ family/ professional network, housekeepers, etc. These are the roots and the backbone of your every act. Once and for all, right values and morals enhance a child’s decision making ability and help in approaching more comprehensive, practical and honest solutions.
- Introduce them to the power of truthfulness – Truthfulness is an act that saves you from numerous other consequences and complexities. Sometimes, speaking the truth could be harder but make them realize the confidence you acquire after speaking the truth and how simpler it makes the prevailing consequences.
- Teach them the gems of human life – Honesty and Simplicity – Being honest towards whatever you plan and do helps you achieve targeted success and simplicity leads to better mental standards.
- Knowledge is power – Knowledge is not built-in but it could be acquired. We need to make kids understand to never shirk from learning new things and acquiring knowledge of something which is new to them. Knowledge is the very essence of good decision making.
- Ignorance is the biggest enemy – While knowledge is the power, ignorance plays a negative role. We tend to make wrong decisions in the absence of knowledge because we are not able to weigh the proper certainties.
- Teach compassion and acceptability – We need to help them develop a feeling of compassion towards others. This isn’t difficult but we just need to guide them in their behavior towards all races of people. Behavior shouldn’t contain traits distinguishing rich or poor, caste or creed, etc. Notify them of their miss-conduct with anybody. They should be taught to deliver due respect to one and all, without exceptions.
- Give them the power to listen – Listening is often taken for granted because everybody is correct at their point. But this is not true. Possibly if you listen to another person’s point of view, you might get an idea of the situation he or she is into. Listening is a powerful tool to decision making and helps in building independent and stronger individuals.
Some of the day-to-day activities that could be helpful for toddlers to make them independent are below -
- Encourage self-feeding
- Cultivate good hygiene habits, like brushing and taking bath on their own or minimal support.
- They should be able to play with toys on their own rather than having somebody play along with them every time.
- Help them in developing the basic skills like greeting elders, arranging their toys after playing, putting on their shoes, putting dishes in the kitchen after finishing a meal, etc. Look at our toy storages and bookshelves here
- Encourage them with little phrases like “Show me how you do it”, “Let’s give it a try”, etc.
- Make them learn skills like riding a bicycle and trikes, read them inspirational stories.
- Allow them some time to solve their little problems like fixing a worn out toy or changing batteries. If they seek your help, involve them too and give chances for their suggestions. This helps in building up their analytical and motor skills and also raises curiosities in little minds.
- Engage them with learning and educational toys which helps them to develop sensory play.
This is all that we can try with older children, for the toddlers, let’s try to keep things as simple as possible. We must remember that they are the fastest learners and so we must pay attention towards developing those little individuals.
Heard of the famous quote –
“Curiosity is the mother of invention”
This blog includes some of the ways how we can make our kids independent. Once a parent, we always have to develop ourselves so that we give back something useful and valuable to our kids.
Drop your valuable comments in the section below if you have any good ideas/ suggestions and let’s make this forum a helpful and interactive one.
Aarohi Bhatnagar is a mom of a 3 year old and Software Engineer by profession, working with a reputed MNC. She has expertise in multiple domains like General Insurance, Telecommunication and Banking. Writing has always been her passion and also the reason that has pulled her to this platform with the intent of using her skills in a mutually beneficial manner.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.