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Parenting Tips to Help your Child be Independent

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January 14, 2017

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Between four to five years is a great age to train preschoolers to be independent as they enjoy doing things like their mummy and daddy. Though there is no doubt that preschoolers need plenty of parental help, they can still do much more than many of us imagine. So the earlier we start training our preschoolers, the better and easier it would be.

While it is true that there is no right or wrong method of good parenting, a few parenting tips can go a long way in helping your child to become an independent and confident youngster.

As a preschool teacher who has taught 4-5 year olds for more than 15 years, I offer some suggestions that you may choose to consider to make your children more independent and self-reliant.

  1. Assign a task– As parents we like to do everything for our children, thus making them dependent on us. Give responsibility by assigning small tasks such as putting their toys/books/crayons in place, carry their bags and water bottle to school. ‘I can do it’ tasks will build their confidence in the long run.
  2. Don’t look for perfection– Try not to redo the task your child has done. Forget perfection and accept that he/ she can’t do the task as flawlessly as you can. So remember to reassure your little ones that their efforts are praiseworthy and it is okay to make mistakes, as long as they continue trying.
  3. Set expectations- In school, preschoolers are expected to do their work – to keep their books/notebooks in their bag, spread their mats/wear aprons and feed themselves. If parents raise the bar of expectations, their children will happily meet those expectations.
  4. Let them try to solve their simple problems– Narrate social stories with open ended questions and encourage your child’s problem solving skills by asking if he/she can come up with a solution. Also, don’t rush in to solve minor issues when they arise. Instead, encourage your child to take his/her own decisions. You may offer them options A and B. At first your children may not make the right choice, but eventually they will, because the wrong choice will not get them what they want.
  5. Reward /Praise– Appreciating preschoolers for doing small tasks brings them closer to ‘being independent’. Avoid offering them incentives for everyday jobs. Do not bribe them either. Instead reward them in proportion to the desired behaviour.
  6. Clean Your Own Mess– Let the children learn to clean their own mess, be it in their own room, at the dining table or writing on the wall.
  7. You Can Do It– Identify opportunities and make a list of things which they can do on their own.
  8. Patience –Finally, as parents we need a lot of patience to watch them do things on their own. Do not give in to the temptation of enjoying peace and quiet for a few moments by encouraging dependence every day. Instead, while it may take time for children to form a habit of doing things by themselves, when they do, it gives a boost to their self-esteem.

‘I did it all by myself’, is so worth waiting for.

Shelly Wadhwa

Shelly Wadhwa

Shelly Wadhwa is a student focused, warm and friendly Preschool Teacher with more than 15 years of experience in teaching 4-5 year olds. She regularly liaises with parents to provide tips on different concerns related to children. She has taught in different schools but has spent most of her teaching career in Mount Carmel Junior School, Delhi where she is presently teaching.

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