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Independence in children helps your children and parents. Encourage independence in children by using these 10 helpful tips.
“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.” ~Ann Landers
Children need to learn independence to thrive. They are proud and build their self-confidence by completing a task without help.
My son used to need help with many of the simple tasks like getting dressed, getting ready for bed, putting on his jacket, putting on shoes, the usual tasks toddlers need help with.
I was pregnant with our second when he just turned 3. I knew to make it easier on myself and to teach him he can do things himself, we made it a point to encourage him to complete tasks independently.
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By using these simple tips, you can encourage independence with your child.
Helpful tips to encourage independence in children
1. Let your child pick out his/her own clothes.
Teach your child what to wear in each season, but let them be independent with their clothes. It doesn’t hurt anybody if your child decides to wear stripes with polka dots or any other fashion faux pas.
- Use this in their closet so they can reach everything.
- I keep the in-season clothes down below where he can reach things. We’ve also gone through how to put hangers on shirts so he can put his clothes away by himself.
2. Teach your child how to use zippers, buttons, and snaps.
Some clothes are more difficult than others to button or zip. Have your children practice these fine motor skills so they can complete the tasks by themselves.
My son loves him button-up pajamas and was so proud when he finally learned how to button them all by himself.
3. Make a schedule that they can follow to learn routines.
This is a common intervention for children with autism to have a visual to follow. I think the visual reminder is helpful for all children! My son loves following his visual schedules so he doesn’t have to ask what’s next.
4. Buy clothes that children can easily put on and take off.
My son prefers pants he can slip on and off without zippers. I buy these for him to wear to preschool instead of jeans that have zippers that he can’t easily manipulate.
Teachers will especially be thankful for you buying clothes your child can pull on and off without help!
5. Let them do things independently without you correcting it.
This is a big one that I follow all the time. I always keep this reminder in the back of my head with any child!
My son recently put his clothes away from a load of laundry. He called me into his room with pride to show me how he put his clothes away. There were t-shirts hung up the side of his closet organizer, and his sweatshirt was hung by the hood.
I was thinking I should correct it because it wasn’t right. But then I thought, it’s only incorrect to me, not him! He put his clothes away with no help and is proud.
I didn’t correct it. I left his clothes how they were, and matched his excitement when praising him for his accomplishment.
Had I corrected his “mistake”, I would have been telling him, without actually saying anything, “You did it wrong, let me do it and show you how the right way.”
6. Let them try and fail.
The most important thing about learning is learning from your mistakes. Guide your child, but let your child experiment with their own ideas. As long as the idea is safe, let them try.
Let them learn that it is okay to fail. It’s more important to get back up and try again!
7. Let them work towards earning something they really want, rather than having it given to them.
It’ll mean much more to them if they earn it!
8. Let them take on responsibilities.
Let them be responsible for letting out the dog, feeding the fish, restocking the paper towels. Have them plan a family night on their own, choose the game and the meal.
9. Let them be assertive.
- Have them order their own food when at a family dinner.
- Answer a question asked to them or about them.
10. Put their snacks and drinks where they can reach them.
Having the items children frequently use or eat makes life easier for yourself and your child. Rather than having to ask for you to get them a snack, they can get their own.
When you encourage independence in children, not only is it teaching children life skills needed as they grow, it helps moms around the house.
Make life easier for your child and yourself and use these tips to encourage independence in your children.