Take their lead.Remember when your newborn wanted to handle their own bottle or when your two-year-old began to show signs of independence? Young children naturally want to do things for themselves, so instead of stepping in to make sure everything is done correctly, follow your child’s lead and give them the opportunity to complete activities they have previously expressed an interest in doing. Things may not always turn out as planned, but the important thing is that your child is exercising new skills and improving their self-esteem and physical dexterity.
Believe in them and show it!If you’ve been doing everything for your almost-school-age child and have decided it’s time to let them take the reins, it may be difficult to get them to do things for themselves at first – old habits die hard. But don’t give up! There’s still time to help them become more independent. Start by identifying a few tasks that you know your youngster can complete on their own. Begin with 3-4 chores and gradually increase their responsibilities as they become more self-sufficient. Make sure to verbally express your faith in their ability to do the job – this will give them the confidence boost they need. Additionally, creating a chore chart that is easily accessible to them and rewarding them with happy faces or stars every time a job is completed will help motivate them to keep trying.
Allow them to make mistakesMistakes are inevitable as your kid learns to be more independent, so don’t expect perfection. It’s okay if their clothes are inside out every now and then, or if some of their food ends up on the floor while they’re eating. At this point, it’s their efforts and willingness to try that are most important. If they seem discouraged, resist the urge to intervene right away and instead offer words of encouragement to keep them going. Don’t forget to recognize their contributions, no matter how small!
Allow them time to grow and learnNever lose sight of the fact that your child is still developing, and it is highly likely that they may take far longer to complete tasks on their own than with your help. Your ultimate goal is to help your child become more independent, so rushing them or doing the work for them to get it done faster is not the best option. Be patient and always give your child enough time to finish what they have started, even if it means getting up a bit earlier to allow your child to complete tasks at their own pace.
Be aware that this journey towards empowering your child will be challenging and time-consuming. However, having an independent and confident child who is proud of their accomplishments and is fully prepared for big school will be worth it in the end!