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Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How to Teach Young Kids How to Have More Independence

how-to-teach-young-kids-how-to-have-more-independenceBuilding and encouraging independence can be started as early as toddler-hood. This age is the perfect time to build a foundation of learning to independently care of themselves. Read below to incorporate the four basics of instilling a sense of independence in your young kid. You’ll help to build independence in your kiddo before you know it! 

Patience is Key

Kids have some sort of innate ability to test the patience of adults on the daily. It’s as if they know where every button is, and just what ones to push to send adults up in a tizzy. Teaching your young kid to take some of the reigns will help give them a sense of control and help lessen the parent vs. child battles. It’s key to start simple and to know that it will take time to teach independence to a young kid. Pick one new task each week your kid could learn to do with some guidance. For example, picking out their clothes for the day. Divide this task into steps they can easily understand. It’s going to take time and lots of help from mom or dad. But before you know it, they’ll be on their way to picking out their daily wardrobe and beyond.

Praise, Praise, Praise & Repeat

Telling your child they did a good job can go a long way. It helps to boost self-confidence and will let them know it’s possible for them to do things on their own. Little by little your kid will become Mr. or Ms. Independent! No matter how small of a job or how well it was done, praise your kid with a simple “good job!” or “good work!” It will keep them motivated and engaged in the task at hand. After all, a confident, motivated kid is a kid happy to help! 

Give Them the Reigns 

When it comes to kids, it can be hard to step back and let them do things on their own. Kids learn by doing, so any opportunity where they can do it themselves, let them. Start simple, let them pick out their clothes, put the toothpaste on their toothbrush or put their coat on. Finding yourself wanting to step in? Start out by demonstrating the task and then letting them do it on their own. Giving your kiddo the freedom to learn a task, no matter how many times it takes, will get them on the road to independence. Lawyers who work on deferred action for childhood arrivals and adoptions often say giving them their own space and a level of independence can help them adjust as well.

Set Up a Kid-Friendly Space

And finally, in order for all of these independence-building moments to take place, it’s best to set up a space that’s kid-friendly. It’ll help your child feel comfortable and confident in doing things on their own. You can do this many different ways. Whether it be placing things at his or her reach, like plates and cups, or all the way to setting up a space in the fridge where they can grab kid-approved snacks or drinks. A kid in a kid-friendly environment will help develop an independent one! 

Add a little patience, give a whole lot of praise, encourage them to do stuff on their own, and give them a kid-friendly environment and you’ve got a recipe for success. With a little perseverance and encouragement, you’ll soon see the hard work pay off. Incorporating these four basic tips in your day to day life with your kiddo and before you know it you’ll be on your way to raising an independent kid. 

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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