Now they may be a tiny baby learning to crawl and hold a spoon, but in a few years’ time, they’ll be strong individuals with plenty to say. Helping your little one grow up into a strong-willed and independent person is one of the most important goals of parenthood.
Independence is at the core of happiness because independent people act based on their own principles and aren’t easily swayed by outside pressures. If children learn how to be self-reliant and confident at a young age, they’re likely to be more assertive and successful as adults. And once they reach that stage, you’ll be proud of how far they’ve come.
However, it’s tough for parents to let children go, especially while they’re so young and delicate. Doting moms and dads always worry about their little ones and rush to their rescue whenever they face an obstacle. So, how do you relax and let your child build up on their independence? Here’s what to do.
1. Teach them money management
Encourage your children to save a portion of their allowance or the money they get as a birthday or Christmas present. Suggest that they save it for something they really want, but leave it up to them to decide in the end. If they spend it irresponsibly and regret it later, they’ll learn from their mistake. Getting a summer job is also a good idea and helps children realize the value of money.
2. Involve them in housework
By letting your children take care of age-appropriate housework, you’ll pave the way for their future success and provide them with a challenge. Children benefit from small responsibilities because they help them learn important life skills, build character, and gain confidence. For example, chores can teach kids how to manage their time, commit to a goal, and be meticulous.
3. Let them get ready on their own
Like most people, you’re probably impatient to get the kids ready and out of the house as soon as possible in the mornings. However, if you let them do everything on their own (with maybe just a bit of your guidance), they’ll learn how important it is to plan ahead and manage their time properly. This includes things like packing their bags, picking out their clothes, getting up on time, and getting dressed.
4. Foster freedom
Let your little ones act independently when they’re ready. As long as you’re sure they’re safe, allow them to go out to play with friends alone, for instance. Teach them skills for dealing with various scenarios they may encounter, such as how to act around strangers or stay safe as pedestrians. In the end, placing trust in them to act responsibly will promote their independence.
5. Teach them how to deal with failure
It’s normal to want to protect your precious baby from anything that’s remotely difficult, but dealing with challenges is ultimately good for them. To succeed in anything, they first have to put in the effort, which doesn’t equal getting what they want on the first try. Failure is a normal part of life, and letting your child experience it can be very useful for them. Of course, you should help them work through it and learn from it.
6. Equip them with social skills
To be truly independent, children should be able to have meaningful friendships and resolve conflict. Many of them struggle with shyness and making friends. You can help them overcome this and become more socially adept. For example, encourage them to say hello to new kids when playing together at their favorite trampoline park.