How to Teach Your Kids to Be More Independent
Houston Daycare Academy
Make Your Expectations Known
Kids usually try to rise to meet expectations from adults, as long as the expectations are clear and reasonable. If you expect too much, they’re likely to give up. But if your expectations are too low, you won’t challenge them to tackle things they’re capable of learning.
So work on creating reasonable expectations while realizing that the process can require a little trial and error.
Invest Time Into Teaching
It’s easier to do most tasks yourself rather than teach your child how to do them. And it’s never easy to watch your child struggle to do something that you could easily step in and do yourself.
But think about the time you spend teaching your child how to complete a task independently as an investment. When you put time into showing your child how to clean the kitchen or how to vacuum the living room now, you’ll spend less time doing those tasks yourself down the road.
Most kids do best when they have routines in place. A good routine will help them know what they need to do in a specific order.
Saying, “Clean your room,” or “Get ready for school,” is a bit vague. Younger children, kids with short attention spans, or kids who are learning a new skill need specific action steps that explain exactly what they need to do.
Break down those bigger commands into small steps like, “Put your dirty clothes in the hamper. Then, straighten your bookshelves.”
Obviously, you don’t want to stand around and micromanage the task step-by-step however. This could backfire and foster more dependency on you.
Create a chart that explains each step, and you can increase your child’s independence.
Shape Their Behavior
Whether you want your 6-year-old to learn how to calm down when they’re upset, or you want your teenager to know how to prepare dinner for the family, shape their behavior one step at a time.
Reward your kids for being independent. Create a sticker chart with a preschooler who is working on sleeping in their own bed. Earning a sticker every morning might be incentive enough to help motivate them to be like a big kid.
For an older child, offer a weekly reward. You might say, “If you get your room clean and your homework done before dinner every night, you can invite a friend to come over on Saturday.”
source: Verywell Family
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