Please disable your adblock and script blockers to view this page

Independence – how to develop it in a child

Independence - how to develop it in a child
Independence - how to develop it in a child

 

As parents, we want our children to be independent so that they can cope with life in any situation. However, teaching a child to be independent is a difficult and time-consuming job that requires mindfulness, consistency, and… work on himself/herself. It is worth taking advantage of this specific period, when we are mostly at home, to teach our children to be independent. Let’s make the most of this time for us and our whole family! Independence – how to develop it in a child.

Independent preschooler

You can set tasks for a child of any age. What may prove problematic is to estimate the degree of their difficulty. Too easy – they discourage the child from cooperating. We can then hear the words uttered in a tone full of resentment: Come on, Mom! Too difficult – they frustrate and take away the motivation for effort. So how do you set the right tasks? When talking to a child, eg Honey, please get dressed. If you need help, call out.

 

It gives the child the feeling that we are in a difficult situation with him, and at the same time we have confidence in him that he will cope. Look, your teacher sent us assignments for today. Now we will review them together and check if you understand everything … We go through the worksheets together, prepare the necessary materials and accessories, and clarify difficult issues. The next step – Great. Now you’ll be working on your assignments and I’ll be working on mine.

Help the students

It was time to prepare, now it’s time to work on your own. Of course, for a preschooler it will take from a few to several minutes, so we have to adapt the breaks in our work to his needs. It may be helpful to set up several task stations (the child can perform each task at a different point in the room, with all the necessary utensils). Such an organization of work can give us a long time without having to help the child. It should also be remembered that at this age a child needs time to relax together, e.g. hug and talk (several times for two to three minutes).

Examples of parents’ statements that interfere with exercising independence: It’s too difficult for you … Give it, I’ll fix it … Hurry up … I told you that it will be … How can’t you? It’s simple … Can’t you see that I’m working? …

Instead, the child should hear: I can see that you are working hard … Do you like your work? How can I help you? I will come to you in 10 minutes … Such messages confirm that the child is important to us, that we appreciate his efforts and support independence.

Early school-age child

The expectations of the 7-11-year-old are obviously higher. A child should be independent in many areas, which does not mean, however, that he or she does not need support, e.g. in explaining difficulties related to the performance of the teacher’s instructions. In distance learning, there is no physical presence of someone who will support, explain or show the technique. In the present situation, it fell on the shoulders of the parents. What may hinder the development of independence in such children?

  1. Communication traps, often leading to unknowingly provoking inappropriate behavior of the child

– Mom, I’m hungry!

– I will prepare something for you in a moment …

How long is yours “immediately”? The boss is now demanding a statement of accounting operations for the last month. A co-worker sends subsequent documents for analysis. Several e-mails are in the mailbox to be read and processed immediately. And your child remembers …

– Mom, I’m very hungry …

– In a moment, son …

Solution: In the morning, prepare snacks, sandwiches, a jug of juice, a thermos with a warm drink together with the children, cut fruit and vegetables into pieces, and leave everything in one place. Such a set will be useful both for you and your children. When you hear the words: Mom, I’m hungry – all you have to do is point to the table in the kitchen or dining room, without interrupting the phone conversation with the boss or other work, to remind the child that he can be independent in this matter. The child learns independence, and you can work calmly.

  1. No consequences

You think your child knows you have to work and has heard it many times before. But another day comes and you run again from the computer to the child’s room – you bring snacks and help with math while talking on the phone for business … In the current situation, many parents comment on posts on social networks, writing: A real madhouse! But it doesn’t have to be that way! Magic words may be helpful: We’ve made an appointment. In the evening, with a meal together or in the morning at breakfast, we make an appointment, i.e. we plan the time of work and study. If the child still breaks the contract, we communicate consistently – maybe with a large piece of paper clearly marked: We’ve made an appointment!

Must Read: Proper child development and sensory integration

  1. Delivering the child

This is a difficult task in the age of distance learning. Teachers cannot support children as they did at school. As parents, we don’t have to be experts in every field. If we have a problem with an issue, we can use the opportunity to communicate with the tutor and get help. Many teachers are available to parents through electronic journals, instant messaging, or telephone. Using such help is not a parent’s weakness, but rather a rational use of time and opportunities.

The key principle in remote learning matters is to pay attention to the child’s independence whenever he can act on his own. Relieving him or she leads to perpetuating helplessness in the face of the difficulties encountered. So do not give in every time your child, cuddling sweetly, with a tiny voice asks: Daddy, you can do it better, do it for me, I love you so … A loving daddy should answer: I love you too, so you will do it’s alone because I know you can …

  1. Ignoring the needs and difficulties of the child

A child cannot cope on its own in every situation. It is good to set aside time to support your child so that it does not interfere with our work. And stick to it consistently. Before we go to our own work, we make an appointment with the child that the tasks he considers to be too difficult should be left for later. After finishing work, take the time to support your child in carrying out their tasks. A large piece of paper (or a blackboard) can also help, on which the young person writes down difficulties, and we can support him during the breaks.

Teenagers’ independence

For children aged 12-17, the learning support does not differ much from the one we provided before the quarantine. Young people work independently, they are also more efficient in getting help, they are great at virtual space, so contact with teachers or peers is not a problem for them. But that does not absolve us of our responsibility to show interest in our children’s lives. Questions: What interesting did you learn today? Did something surprise you? Did you find the answers to these biology questions? Where did you get this information from? I like your position on this… I think otherwise, maybe we’ll talk about it over dinner?

We will support teenagers’ independence more by showing confidence in their abilities than by suggesting solutions. But they still need a sense of security that we give them when we show interest in their world, achievements, difficulties, and also provide support in difficult situations.

To sum up

We teach independence at every stage of our children’s development. What is common for all ages is showing confidence in a child’s abilities. Supporting when you really need it and appreciating your efforts, not just the results of your work. We are not perfect, and neither do our children have to be perfect. It is important that they constantly develop and strengthen their self-confidence. Then each challenge will be overcome. And they will be happy, and we will be happy with them.