Teaching your child to be independent means creating a world in which they can thrive without you being around. It could also mean letting go of the reigns of always trying to protect them and slowly exposing them to things that they will have to deal with as they grow older. For most parents, it can be a daunting task.
But looking back at your own memories of becoming independent you will realise that your parents were not there to guide you some of the time. Here are three tips on how you can teach your child to be independent.
Create an environment where they don’t doubt themselves
Children take their cues from parents. How you react in every situation creates a memory of how they should act in a similar situation. Creating an environment where your child is free from anxiety, self-doubt, and insecurity is essential. Creating a cushioned environment where parents always tend to their child’s fussy moment or cries can reinforce the notion that they are only safe when you are around.
As much as we want to protect them, it is important to allow your child to explore, to make mistakes, and to get hurt so that they learn from these incidents. It will also help them become independent when it comes to decision making and feeling safe away from us.
Create security from a distance
Teaching them independence doesn’t mean leaving them to their own devices in an environment that is dangerous. Depending on the age of your child, it is important to create a sense of security from a distance that you slowly release the older they get. Start off by giving them independent playtime in an environment that is baby proofed. Have them play with other children their age without having you in earshot.
Come back for a few minutes to check if everything is still going well and encourage them as they play. Always remember to respond to them in a calm manner. Should they fall or scrape their knees on a surface, calmly speak and encourage them to try again.
Give them the power of choice
Your child is more than capable of executing some tasks on their own. Allowing them this opportunity where they are able to make decisions on their own can boost their confidence and independence.
While it may not be possible for you to allow them to make their own decisions every time, it is important to afford them the opportunity wherever possible. The trick is to allow them to make decisions over things that will have a favourable outcome for everyone.
For example, let them choose whether they want to have a bath or not can backfire on so many levels. Instead, let them choose if they want to have bubbles in their water or not.
Each child is different, therefore, create a system that will work for them.
As parents, it is important to try and see things from your child’s perspective and work on creating an environment where they will be able to cope without you being around them. This also means protecting them financially by having life cover in place that will take care of them when you are no longer around to do so.