Teaching Your Kids to be Independent
Raising independent children takes work and encouragement from both parents. Here are 5 ways you can instill independence in your child.
Encouraging independence in your children will help them become more responsible adults. It’s an important lesson that co-parents should work to instill in their kids throughout their lives. Teaching children to be independent starts from a young age. Healthychildren.org states that children as young as 4 to 6 years old are beginning to develop their independence.
Here are 5 ways you and your co-parent can teach your kids to be independent
1. Establish routines
When your kids are toddlers, it’s important to establish routines. For co-parents, this is especially important as your children switch between households. Creating and keeping regular routines in the morning and at night allows your kids to form stable habits. This will help them perform daily functions more independently in both homes.
2. Assign chores
As your children move out of their toddler years, it’s important to assign them some chores or responsibilities around the house. Once again, it’s beneficial for both co-parents to agree on these requirements so that consistent expectations are set in both households. Research has shown that children who were given chores at an early age grew into more independent adults. For more information on the benefits of chores for your children, read our article on How Chores Are an Essential Part of Childhood.
3. Give praise
When your child accomplishes something that displays independence, it’s important to give them praise. As psychotherapist, Amy Morin, states in an article in Verywell Family, “It’s easy to give kids attention when they’re breaking the rules or when they’re not staying on task, but attention (even negative attention) can reinforce misbehavior.” Telling your child when they have done a good job or displayed positive behaviors can be more beneficial to their long-term growth and formation of independence.
4. Allow kids to make a schedule
Letting your children organize their own schedule (to some degree) is another great way to teach kids about independence. Giving your child a calendar so they can write down important dates and appointments helps them learn to plan and balance their life. For co-parents, scheduling is key, so setting a good example for your child is also important. TalkingParents’ Shared Calendar feature offers co-parents an easy way to keep track of their child’s schedule, all in one place. Our tool is perfect for transition days or just everyday use.
Helping your child identify and make priorities is also an important step in instilling independence in them. As your kids grow older, you and your co-parent should sit down with your child to talk about their needs and goals. Explaining the priorities your kids need to make in order to achieve these goals and then letting them take the reins is crucial to developing independent behaviors.
Raising independent children takes work from both co-parents
If possible, you and your co-parent both need to practice these strategies. Consistency in both homes will help instill independence in your children more effectively, leading to more independent, responsible adults.