How to Encourage Independence and Confidence in Your Kids
By Kim DeMarchi
Independent, responsible children are the stuff of parenting dreams. You know, the kids who persevere in the face of challenges, who love to try new things, and who are confident in the outcomes of their decisions?
Luckily, independence is a quality that can be nurtured—by you! Take a look at the following four common scenarios that require parental troubleshooting. In each, your goal is to stay positive and help your budding self-starter learn how to think about the problems (and solutions) for themselves.
1. The situation: Your 3-year-old needs to get dressed, which you’ve always done for them (because it’s so much easier).
Encourage independence: Your rapidly growing child has rapidly growing abilities. Take a moment before doing a task for them to check out what they know, what they’re ready to learn, or what they really can do themselves—and then encourage them to do those things. Your goal is to build competence and confidence—and to show your child you know they’re capable!
“We’re heading out in five minutes. What will you need to put on before we go to the park?”
2. The situation: Even though you’ve explained many times to your little builder that Legos have to go back in the bin, there are now hundreds of plastic bricks scattered all over the floor.
“What was your understanding of our last talk about where your Legos go after playing?”
4. The situation: You host a group of kids for a playdate, and after a snack they all dart away, leaving their cups, plates, and apple cores behind.