Kids

Encouraging Independence in Kids: How parents and caregivers can play a pivotal role

In so many ways, adults interacting with kids might feel that they (the kids) are a model of independence. They do what they wish, when they want, and however they like to do it! Well, however endearing those characteristics might seem to parents and home childcare-givers, trained Rockville day care center staff know differently. While it’s great to “cut the kids some slack” when they do things their own way, nurturing and encouraging independence in kids requires more than that.

How Not to Raise Independent Kids

On the other end of the spectrum, to “letting kids do their own thing”, is extreme micromanagement. Some parents and caregivers may be overprotective of their children, even constantly picking out the toys they should play with at specific times, or measuring the amount of toothpaste they use to brush their teeth. If anything, this approach is highly detrimental to instilling a sense of independence and self confidence in young kids.

And then, there’s the tendency to severely criticize and harshly correct even the most minor of mistakes or missteps a child takes. Early childhood education specialists at Rockville MD child care centers will tell you that berating or belittling children, at every opportunity, is not the way to encourage independence and confidence. It simply saps their spirits, and drains them of their desire to become independent.

Simple but Effective Independence Boosters

The path to raising independent children lies in a delicate balance between completely letting go, and confident encouragement.  Here are some simple steps that you can take to inspire independence in your kids. Many young children learn these skills when attending daycare center events, such as Rockville MD summer camp programs:

  • Good Counsel: Unless kids know what “perfect” independent behavior is, they’ll never know how to achieve independence. The first step in promoting independence in kids is, therefore, to guide and counsel them on what “being independent” means
  • Encouragement: When a child does something that promotes independent behavior, encourage them to continue down that path
  • Patience: When you see something in your child, that does not bode well for their confidence – such as constantly second guessing themselves, don’t lose patience. Instead, patiently guide and correct them
  • Role Modelling: Whenever possible, be a role model of independence for your kids. When they see parents and caregivers making decisive decisions, and acting confidently, they’ll mimic those behaviors on their own path to independence
  • Support: Kids won’t embrace independence without support from the adults in their lives. Support comes in various ways, such as enrolling them in extracurricular activities, allowing them to join summer camps and field trips, and letting them do things on their own – even if they’re likely to fail at first!

These are broad guidelines, and organizers of activities at summer camp in Rockville MD tailor them to fit each child’s need for independence. For instance, some kids might initially require more frequent counseling and guidance than others; while others could do with a lot more patience than some of their peers.  No matter what happens – don’t give up! In due course, your child too will learn to think, act, and function independently.