KIDependence: 5 Steps to Boosting Your Child’s Confidence

When your children are small, you’re responsible for providing all of life’s necessities, whether it be a hot breakfast in the morning, clothes picked out for the day or comfort when they’re feeling under the weather. But then kids get older and are able to do more things for themselves. And that’s a good thing! By encouraging independence at a young age, you’re helping to shape your child’s personality and confidence. Introducing self-dependency skills at a young age has many benefits, including:

So how, exactly, do you help your child become more independent? Try these tips:

  1. Encourage exploration: Give toddlers the freedom to learn about their surroundings without you standing over them. This lets them come up against a challenge (how do I get around this huge piece of furniture?) and feel good when they figure it out. Place dangerous objects like appliances and household cleaning products out of their grasp and replace them with safer items so they can roam and learn.
  2. Introduce new responsibilities slowly: Begin incorporating new “grown-up” tasks into your children’s daily routine. Research shows that when kids take on small chores, they are likelier to have a successful career later in life. One week you can let them help set the kitchen table, the next ask them to start making their bed. Acknowledge the behavior and encourage them to find other ways to help.
  3. Provide them with options: A key characteristic of independent people is the ability to make their own decisions and feel self-confident about it. So when asking a question, give your child choices. For example, ask them if they would like to enjoy milk or water with their dinner. You’re still in control of the situation, but you’re also giving them power to impact the final outcome. Be sure to follow through with their choice and provide positive reinforcement no matter their choice.
  4. Guide them: When children go through the process of learning something new, parents can feel the need to swoop in and help resolve problems quickly. Try not to. Allow them to work through their frustration and figure it out on their own. And if they do ask for your help, give hints to help them come up with the solution on their own. Solving problems on their own can boost self-confidence, resilience and empathy towards others.
  5. Be a source of praise. When your children do a great job at a task or make the right choice, let them know how proud of them you are. This grows their confidence in their decision-making ability and their self-worth. Don’t seek perfection, just look for them to be trying their hardest.

Photo Credit: Queen of Tarts

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