Preschool is a terrific time for encouraging little ones to begin doing new tasks on their own. Gaining a sense of independence in early childhood can help them be more self-confident and driven throughout their academic career and beyond. Let’s take a look at some easy ways to boost independence in your preschooler!
Tips for Building Independence in Preschoolers
Teaching children to do things independently takes time, but when they master a new skill, it’s a great time to celebrate their growth and autonomy. Plus, it’s one less task you have to do for them! Here are some tips for building independence in preschoolers:
Let Them Help You
If your child shows an interest in lending a helping hand, take it! Allowing them to help out with daily tasks shows that you trust and believe in them. Of course, asking a preschooler to help around the house doesn’t always make the job easier! You may end up refolding the laundry or making the bed over again, but these obstacles can be worth it. Knowing that they helped an adult around the house boosts confidence and gives them a sense of control. Remember, their assistance doesn’t always have to involve chores. You can ask for their thoughts on the grocery list or what kind of flowers to plant in the backyard. Asking for their ideas and cultivating a plan together is a great way to make kids feel important.
Give Them Age-Appropriate Chores
You may have read our article about how beneficial chores are for toddlers, and the same is true for older children. Chores build a child’s sense of responsibility, accountability, self-worth, and executive function skills. A preschooler’s chores should be age-appropriate and encourage them to achieve more complex tasks as they grow. For instance, setting time aside every day for putting away toys and organizing their play area can eventually lead to dusting surfaces and tidying other rooms in the house.
Encourage Free Play
Free play, also called unstructured play, is child-led play that allows children to use their imagination to experiment with different things. For example, giving them a bag of clothes and inviting them to play dress up or laying out arts and crafts materials without any specific direction can spark their creativity and give them an opportunity to problem-solve on their own.
Routines, Routines, Routines!
Routines promote consistency. When life is more consistent and predictable, preschoolers can take on a more substantial role in chores, activities, and self-care tasks. Routines involve sequential steps, and doing them every day helps them remember and learn each action. For instance, bedtime routines encourage brushing their teeth on their own, and morning routines can help them learn to get dressed on their own. The more routines you have set in place, the easier it is for them to gradually take on more responsibility.
Give Them Room to Problem-Solve
It’s always tempting to jump in to help your little one through a challenge, but giving them room to problem-solve on their own is important. You can always be supportive with your words (This puzzle is tough, but I see you aren’t giving up!), but letting them discover their own solutions can build critical-thinking skills and help them be more resilient.
Talk to Them
A wonderful and easy way to make children more confident is simply talking to them. Listen to their stories, ask how their day was, ask them how they feel, and invite them to ask questions. When parents and caregivers give children positive attention and show an interest in them, it makes them feel super special! These positive emotions feed directly into their self-worth and self-esteem.
While it can feel easier to do things for your preschooler, teaching self-sufficiency provides countless benefits that will follow them into adulthood.