It may be hard to hear, but there are times when your child is better off without you. Learn to let go so they can learn to grow.
Raising independent children doesn’t mean you must stop doing things for your kids. Rather, it means you must know the limits and trust your children to make choices for themselves. If they fall short, encourage them but be ready to trust them again to make their own choices. Here are a few strategies that can help you raise independent children.
1. Create Structures And Routines That Encourage Independence
When you provide kids with physical structures and routine, they can be very independent. These routines and structures make them feel more responsible which in turn, builds their confidence. Think of the school lockers – they are there to give students a structure to organise themselves. The same thing can be applied at home, via household chores such as folding the laundry to getting their own drinking water. Alternatively, you can keep track of the small requests your little one asks of you and set up a structure to meet that need!
2. Teach Your Kids How To Problem-solve
When your kids call for you, do not automatically solve the problem. Instead, you should ask yourself: “Is there a way that they could solve this without me?” If there is, take the time to teach them – kids have a lot more skills than we give them credit for but they call on us as it provides an easy way out. Take note that despite their potential, kids need some time and support to pick up a new skill. Do take the opportunity to teach them though, it will be worth it in the long run.
3. Teach Them Language – Actively
Sometimes, children do not know what words to use or how to use them. As far as teaching language goes, we teach children the basics of language i.e the alphabet and reading. However, we do not explicitly teach our children social language. Hence social language, such as asking an adult for help must be taught. Another way of learning independence would be how to resolve conflicts. Instead of resolving the conflict for them, give them the words (with a little prompting if needed) to do so. You will be surprised at the control kids have over fixing their own problems.
Originally published in “Flying Solo”, in Singapore’s Child May issue 2014.