If you’re constantly doing things for your children that they are perfectly capable of doing him or herself, then chances are you’re sending them the wrong message.
Sure it might be easier, less stressful and quicker for you to tie their shoelaces, zip up their jumper or pack their library bag, but by doing so you’re sending an inadvertent message that you don’t have confidence in their abilities and will do everything for them.
It’ll also drive you crazy as they get older and still expect you to do everything for them!
This could result in a child who lacks self-esteem, problem-solving skills and importantly independence.
Sure it’s hard letting go and watching kids fail or do something painfully slow, but by doing just that you’re also teaching then valuable life lessons.
6 tips to increase their independence
1. Ask for their help
Once you figure out you’re doing way more for your child than necessary, admit this to them and say that you’re going to change. Tell your child that you have been silly and forgot how big they were and could actually do it without your help. Talk about how they’re a big kid now.
2. Allow extra time
If you’re rushed in the morning you’re more likely to override your children’s wishes and just get the job or chore done. Allow more time in the morning for your kids to get ready to leave the house, it usually takes them about 10 minutes more but the payoffs down the track are worth it. If you’re really rushing in them mornings, then try these quick, healthy kids breakfast options.
Hint: Give kids a ridiculously huge amount of notice before you’re ready to leave the house, they’ll need it to get their stuff done.
3. Make a list of tasks
Sit down and figure out a list of what they can actually do without your help. These could be things such as putting on their shoes and socks, packing their school or kindy bag or washing him or herself in the bath. Get your child to tell you what duties they feel they’re big enough to do without your help.
4. Let it go (sorry for the ear worm)
Your child is unlikely to do something as good as you so just get over it. Sure they might spill some milk as they fix their own cereal but just take a deep breath and let it go. Do you best not to criticise or sigh in frustration, they’ll stop trying to help and that’s the last thing you want.
Tip: don’t rush in to fix their mistake or tidy their bed if it’s no perfectly made, sometimes just doing it is good enough.
5. You might have to compromise
So your son vehemently refuses to wear long pants in winter or your daughter won’t wear her dress shirt to school, in this instance you’ll have to pick your battles. Your son might be cold and your daughter might face consequences at school and they will learn this if you let them. If your toddler is dressing him or herself then you might have to embrace the fact they’ll be wearing a tutu and a pirate’s hat to the shops.
6. Stick with it
Some days your children just won’t want to play ball and will regress and beg you to put on their socks or do their hair. Don’t make a big deal about it, do it once and then next time make sure they know it’s not your job anymore it’s theirs. Showing them you’re willing to help every now and then will help increase their confidence.
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