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  • Writer's pictureWork & Play

Encouraging Independence

Parenthood is a juggling act.

Quite literally from the moment these little ones join our lives, we’re juggling feeding them, comforting them, managing our own emotions, taking care of our needs, entertaining them, keeping them safe, working towards our personal goals, keeping an eye on “what’s next” for our’s a moving target to say the least.

And, while it’s true that at times it can feel like a bit much to manage, there are also moments of peace and happy rhythm.

As our children change and grow, so does how they interact with their world. One of the areas that can be easily overlooked - and honestly is often the key to finding more moments in the happy rhythm INDEPENDENCE.

Take a moment to pause and consider where your child might be right now, today, in this moment in time.

Undoubtedly, your child has a myriad of skills that allow them to be more independent than they were even a few months ago. And while parents sometimes unwittingly discourage independence, children always find ways to charge forward towards doing the things they can. That is just the way they are wired. We parents are sometimes the ones who try to fiddle with that wiring!

Independence skills are built into school settings naturally and out of necessity. Anyone in a big family will tell you, being able to take care of things yourself will save you a whole lot of waiting around time. The same is true at school. If you can get that jacket on with independence, you will be out on the playground faster. Win, win.

So what are some things we can encourage even our 3 year olds to do with independence?

  • Getting dressed (not necessarily independently choosing clothes, but putting them ON.)

  • Wiping their hands and mouth when needed.

  • Eating with utensils & drinking from an open cup.

  • Putting jacket on. Taking jacket off.

  • Hanging up jacket.

  • Putting on socks and shoes.

  • Putting laundry in a hamper.

  • Taking care of bathroom needs.

  • Bringing (unbreakable) cups and plates to the sink or counter.

  • Wash and dry hands.

  • Wipe up a small spill.

  • Clean-up simple toys (i.e. puzzle, game, play kitchen)

  • Play independently with a toy/game for 5-10 minutes

  • Look at/page through a book

Go ahead and see how many items on that list your young child can already do! Great job! Now turn your attention to tackling the rest of the list when your child is ready. By doing so, you are building their confidence in themselves and trust in you.

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