So often as parents we do way too much for our kids and they come to rely on us to get stuff done, whereas they could be taking on tasks that are age appropriate and could help you out. The reason that we often do this is that we’re often in a rush, leading our busy lives, where it just takes less time for you to do stuff for them. But believe us when we say this, there are huge benefits to this, not only will you be able to rein in a bit more time, but your kids will be happy and more confident in their abilities. Yes it will take a bit of time to not only get used to it yourself, but to get your kids trained and ready to take on new challenges for a household that runs smoothly and calmly! Here are a couple of ideas on how to teach your kids to be independent. Do you have any others to share with us?
Start off Slow
The first thing to do to get the kids on board is to ask them to help you. You could something along the lines that you’ve been treating them like a little kid and can they please help you to treat them more like the big kid that they are. Saying this is one of the biggest motivators for kids…as none of them want to be treated like a little kid. In their minds they’re always the big kid so harness the power of this!
Find the Opportunities
Identify a number of things that you think that they can do, and sit them down with you too to discuss the list. Let your child have their input too by saying what they feel they are capable of. This gets them on board and helps them to want to try harder to please you and feel good about themselves.
Only tackle one of the tasks on the list at a time until they’re completely confident in their abilities to do the tasks. If you give them a long list of things to do, they’ll lose interest as they’ll be completely overwhelmed.
Make the Time
We can’t stress this enough – if you’re going to make this work you have to make the time for this to work. If it means that the tasks take an extra 10 minutes each morning, then wake up 10 minutes earlier. Don’t sit on their shoulders nagging them to do stuff as you’ve made the tie. If you don’t make the time, you’ll just sink down the slippery slope back to square one.
Learn to Compromise
If they start to dig their heels in then learn to compromise and inject a little fun to set things back on track again. If it’s about dressing themselves then maybe you can take bottoms duty and she can take tops duty. Tell them that their shirt is like a tree and the branches need her! You can get creative here in how you position it to your kids. Even if they do part of the task, praise them for their great work. We all know that a little praise goes a long way.
Say Goodbye to Perfection
You may be a perfectionist, but there is no doubt that your kids will live up to your idea of perfectionism. Let it be, leave it at the door and learn to go with the flow. If it’s not done correctly, but they’ve really tried that’s what counts. Imagine how they would feel if they saw you redoing all of their hard work – not very good!
Praise, praise, praise
Even if they’re not doing all that they’re meant to be doing, find something, anything that you can praise them on as this will spur them on to start the road to independence. It’s okay to praise the effort or the hard work as opposed to the outcome, as this will develop a growth mindset in kids. If they’ve put the shoes on the wrong feet, still praise them and say that you’re sure they’ll get it right the next day. Be careful not to over praise or praise for no reason at all as kids will also pick up on this and if they’ve hardly put any effort in and they’re getting a huge amount of praise, it’s unlikely that they will increase their efforts on their road to independence.
Consider the Circumstances
If your kids are sick, tired, stressed out or even adjusting to a new change it’s not a good time to introduce new responsibilities and tasks. Don’t worry if they regress even after they’ve mastered something, they’ll soon be up to it again. Temporarily sharing the load can help them to stay more positive and bounce back quicker. Don’t scold or criticise them as it will only make them regress even further.
Don’t try to rush in each time there is a minor issue, rather encourage them to use their problem solving skills to see if they can come up with an idea to fix the situation before offering your ideas into the mix.
Those are our top tips to getting your kids on the road to independence. Perhaps you can try some of these tips at home and let us know if they work! We would love to hear from you.