Are you tired of reminding your child to take their backpack or lunch to school? Are you pulling your hair out in frustration because your child has forgotten his or her homework, again? Do you feel as though nothing you do seems to help?
How Can Parents Really Help?
Our job as parents is to guide our children into becoming responsible, independent adults. This does not take place overnight but over the child’s entire childhood. Children take their first steps to independence literally as they start to walk, feed themselves, dress themselves, and make choices about what toy to play with. As the parent, you encourage these milestones and celebrate your child’s growth.
So Why is it So Hard Now?
Sometimes as parents we worry and do too much for our children. Children need to develop skills and may make mistakes as they do so. When a child falls while learning to walk, we encourage them to get back up and try again. Children must be able to make mistakes and solve problems in order to master new skills and responsibilities.
Did you know that brain research is finding that we only learn when we make mistakes? We as parents have to resist the urge to do things for a child that he or she can do himself or herself, or learn to do. We need to encourage and support their efforts at developing responsibility, self-reliance, and problem solving.
Where Do Parents Start?
5 Tips to Encourage Your Child:
- Allow and encourage your child to do what he can for himself. A kindergartner should carry his backpack and take part in planning a successful morning routine.
- Help your child develop a routine for study and homework.
- Allow your child to experience the natural consequences of forgetting homework or lunch. Talk to them about what will happen ahead of time.
- Support and encourage your child as they problem-solve and struggle with a new concept or task. Don’t do the task for them but express your belief in their ability to figure it out.
- Focus praise on the effort the child makes in learning and solving problems on its own.
Do you have any additional questions about childhood independence? Leave your questions in the comment section below.
Written by Sarah Eaton, CFBISD Advanced Academic Services Specialist