Independent children have the confidence and resilience to navigate life’s
challenges. Teaching your child to be independent doesn’t mean that they won’t
need you for support or that they can do everything without you, it simply means that
they will have the drive to try new things and the ability to look within themselves to
tackle their problems. For advice on how to raise your child to be more independent,
take a look at the following insights from an independent school in Hertfordshire.
Teach Them How
Yes, more often than not it’s easier for you to do most things for your child. It usually
means less milk on the kitchen floor if you just make the cereal for them. It often gets
you out of the door quicker if they aren’t spending five minutes attempting to get their
head through the sleeve of their t-shirt. However, taking over and doing it all for them
doesn’t give them the space to learn. Take the time to show your child how to carry
out basic tasks, and then give them the opportunity to try for themselves. They’re not
going to get it right the first time, every time – but they’ll soon pick it up.
Let Them Make Decisions
Of course, it goes without saying there are limits to this. Letting your child
orchestrate the entire supermarket shop may result in some very questionable dinner
options the following week. Gummy bear casserole, anyone? However, giving your
child opportunities to make decisions helps them to develop critical thought and
builds confidence in their decision making. Let your child choose the route you take
on a walk or allow them to select an outfit for a family outing. Having a sense of
autonomy is a huge self-esteem builder for kids.
Allow Them to Problem-Solve
It is instinctual to want to rescue your child from every problem they face. However, if
you jump in with a solution every time your child comes to you with an issue, they
won’t learn to rely on themselves to find the answers. Next time your child is facing a
problem, ask them how they think they can fix it. They’ve fallen out with a friend at
school, how do they think they should make it better? They left their maths
homework on the bus, what do they think they should do? You can guide them away
from impractical solutions (breaking into the bus depot to retrieve their fractions
textbook might not be advisable), but be sure to encourage them to filter through
possible ways to resolve the problem, as this nurtures their critical thinking and
sense of self-reliance.