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As parents, teaching our children life skills can sometimes be a difficult task. Through life’s busy moments you may feel like it’s time to start teaching them to be more independent. Not only can teaching your kids to be more independent make life at home easier, it can also help develop important skills that they will need in adulthood, like decision making and responsibility. When independence grows, your child’s confidence grows too.
Below are a few ways that you can start to practice independence with your children.
Assign chores that they can do on their own
The key to assigning chores, especially to younger kids, is to keep it simple. Kids love to help out, but sometimes they can make things more difficult. When allocating chores, start with simple tasks like feeding the pets, refilling napkins, sorting socks, or wiping down tables. Once your children are used to doing things on their own, you can start incorporating bigger tasks into their chore routine.They will be proud of themselves that they’re able to complete chores without any help.
Allow them to shop for their own clothes
This may seem like a big responsibility to give your kids, but it can be extremely educational and rewarding. Allowing your children or teens to shop for their own clothes not only teaches them about the value of money and budgeting, it also allows them to shop their own personal style and pick out clothing that best fits their personality. It’s important for your child to develop their own taste and clothing is a big part of that. While you may not always like what they want to wear, remember that your parents may not have cared for your style of dressing either.
To start, give your child a set budget to shop for clothes with. This will help them see how expensive things can be and teach them how to properly budget. Remind them that once the money is spent, it’s gone. While your child may want to splurge on higher priced, popular items, encourage them to spread their budget out so they can buy more items at a lower price. Shopping at secondhand stores like thredUP is a great way for your children to shop popular styles at lower prices. This will allow them to get more out of their budget. Not to mention, they can shop their favorite styles directly from home.
Get them involved in their morning routine
Getting your entire family up, dressed, fed, and out the door can be hectic. This is why having a daily routine can come in handy, especially during the busy school year. Create a morning routine that includes everything that has to be done each morning. Go through all of the steps with your children talking about each step as you go along. Throughout the morning routine, encourage your child to take ownership of these tasks. It may be difficult at first, especially when it’s quicker for you to complete a task, but try your best not to do everything for them.
While you tackle the more complicated tasks like making breakfast, encourage your children to handle the easier tasks that they can do without your assistance. These can be as simple as brushing their teeth, getting dressed, and putting their shoes on.
To help make your morning routine run smoothly, create a morning routine chart that includes all of the things that need to get done. You can even arrange it in order so your children can easily follow along. If you have younger kids, try using pictures instead of just words so they can easily understand what exactly needs to be done.
Keep in mind that your children are not going to be experts at taking on more responsibility right away and they may not do a task as well as you can. If your child is attempting to get their own cereal for the first time, don’t get upset if they accidentally spill the milk. Instead, show your child how to clean it up without criticism and assure him or her that it happens to everyone.
Congratulate your child for completing a task on their own and compliment their work. If you notice that they did something wrong, politely point out the error and give a positive follow-up by saying something like “I bet you’ll do even better tomorrow!” Remember, taking on more responsibility can be just as stressful for your child as it is for you.