How To Teach Your Preschooler To Be Independent

Have you ever given a thought to the amount of work that you do for your children, especially toddlers and preschoolers? If you begin to write everything down in a book, in all probability, the pages will get exhausted! Seriously, when we actually quantify the work, it begins to look humungous.

Some unwarranted tension in the house!

Right from picking up their toys after play, getting them ready, making them eat without making a mess, you can see work everywhere. Moreover, if you are particular about your house being neat, then the pressure is even more. Added to this, if you are working parents, the tension is palpable in the house every second.

But, did you realize that in most of the cases the fault lies not in our stars, but in the way we bring up our kids? Are we willing to let them do some work that is really appropriate for their age? Are we not scared that they might get hurt at times? In the end, it is we parents who refuse to let go of our kids and give them some responsibility, thereby not initiating them into independence. Somewhere deep down in our hearts we are scared that they will not listen to us once they become independent. 

In all this, we are making some blatant parenting mistakes, using the “parenting 24 hours a day” rule as an excuse.

So, what can be done about it?

To put it simply, we should give them a chance at being independent. Children, including toddlers and preschoolers, should be allowed to do their chores that are age appropriate. They should also be given some choices that they can exercise.

In fact, according to psychologists, there is a thing called overparenting as well as parenting all the time. These are some of the reasons as to why parents are unable to let go of their child. The effects of all this are shown on the child. He/she is not able to take those developmental leaps with the parents being around and indulging in over parenting.

Therefore, the answer lies in the statement – “Letting kids be kids!” Give them sufficient time to do their work. They are quite capable of doing many things that we adults think are impossible for them. The best example would be dressing up kids! When we dress up our children, it does not take more than five minutes. But, leave them to do it, they may even take an hour. Let us question ourselves here. Do we have the time at hand? Are we patient enough to see their creativity?

The bottom line here is that children should be independent. Parents should encourage them to take their own decisions, and do age-appropriate tasks. This builds so much of self-confidence in these tiny tots that it is amazing to see them walk around with their heads held high!

If you are willing to make your child independent, here are some tips.

How to raise independent toddlers and preschoolers?

  • Make a list of the age-appropriate tasks that your toddler can handle. Once this is done, you can slowly encourage your toddler to do the chores independently. Do not jump to their rescue. Even if there is a mess, it can always be cleaned up later. When you are allowing your child to do some work, he/she gets a sense of importance. This goes a long way in building some great self-esteem.
  • Perfection is not the focus but completion is! Give sufficient time for them to learn new chores and allow them to do it their way. Being judgmental only discourages them from trying out or even completing the task or chore at hand.
  • Spoon-feeding is a big NO – Did you know that children are inherently curious and love to experiment with things? When we spoon-feed them we are hampering the innate curiosity in the child and ability to experiment with the surroundings. During play or even while doing the normal day to day tasks, many parents encourage their children to act or perform in a particular way when the kids themselves are doing something entirely different. This action of parents often makes the child more dependent on the parent for every action. If we want independent kids, spoon-feeding has to be stopped.
  • Teach them organizational skills. Being organized can make your preschoolers understand the importance of self-discipline. Simple tasks of keeping toys in place, arranging the books on the shelf, or even settling the wardrobe will teach them to be more organized. When things are in order in the house, what more can a parent ask for!
  • Make them responsible. When kids take in responsibilities, they take it to their heart and give it their hundred per cent. As parents, we also should recognize their efforts, however big or small and praise them. Children thrive in the small praises that they get from parents.

Lastly, maintain a routine and consistency. When you want kids to be independent, then you must follow a routine where kids know what they must do and what is expected of them. If parents end up doing the work, kids are smart enough to let them do it. And, we do not want that to happen!