Parenting Tips: Teaching Children to Be Independent

Understanding Independent Behaviour in Preschoolers

Independence is a trait that you’ll increasingly see developing in your child at each stage. However, you can also play a role in it by getting your kid engaged in independent activities for preschoolers. By doing this, he’ll be more assured of his abilities.

You may have come across situations when your toddler is unable to execute a task and you rush to his side to help him. As long as you’re only ‘helping’ him to perform it and not doing the work, it’s fine. Shouldering the task can curb his desire to become independent. As parents, we always want the best for our children and pamper them to an extent. However, not letting them do things on their own can make them overly dependent and incapable.

Development of Independent Behaviour in Preschoolers

  • Tasks such as doing artwork that requires assembling objects and using them will have to be a combined effort at 36 months while a 42-month-old confident preschooler will be able to do it on his own.
  • Hand-eye coordination improves and preschoolers more readily find solutions to problems on their own. This could be as easy as taking out stickers and pasting them independently.
  • Emotional dependency gradually reduces so while a 3-year-old might still be clinging on to his mother at the mall, a 4-year-old will be busy exploring the place independently.
  • Concepts like sharing, keeping the room clean, and other similar activities will be taken up enthusiastically by a 4-year-old while you may still have to convince your 3-year-old to do them.
  • You’ll see the beginning of your child’s decision-making ability. A 4-year-old will begin to assert himself and make small decisions like what to wear and what to eat.

3-year-old Vs. 4-year-old: Behaviours Exhibited

36 months to 42 months is an interesting time in the life of a toddler. In this period, he’ll engage in the same activity in different ways depending on what his age is. You’ll see that a task done with much concentration and assistance initially will soon become a breeze for him as he grows. Here’s what you can expect to observe:

Your Role in Encouraging Independent Behaviour in Kids

The motivation of a parent goes a long way in instilling a sense of confidence in your child. Training children to be independent can be done by engaging them in the following:

  • Making simple changes like placing your preschooler’s toys, objects and other knickknacks at a height where he can reach them are the first steps towards independence.
  • Providing wooden toys, wooden puzzles and board books that do not get damaged easily, and that can be given to your child without supervision should be encouraged.
  • Talk about the activities he can accomplish independently and be generous in praising him when he completes them.
  • Put chart paper on a board, listing down the tasks that your preschooler is able to execute independently and those that he’ll learn at this stage. Every time he masters any one of them, give him a small reward.

In today’s modern times, teaching children to be independent is extremely important. It’ll go a long way in helping them develop into responsible adults.

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