Making Good Independent Choices as a Kid
What You Need to Know
How parents and caregivers respond to a child is a major factor in how the child feels about him or herself. The NAEYC suggests, “Your role in fostering independence is to provide love and support, encourage exploration and curiosity, teach skills, and allow the child to make appropriate choices.”
It’s important that you are enthusiastic about your child exploring his/her independence.
Remember to set limits, help when your child is overly frustrated, and expect mistakes.
What you can expect your child to be able to do on his/her own will depend in part on your child’s age.
How You Can Help
The number one thing you can do is be supportive of your child’s independence. It is important to set limits, but it is also important to give your child choices whenever possible.
- Be enthusiastic about your child’s accomplishments and show it! It’s perfectly okay to dance around the kitchen when he/she puts on his/her shoes for the first time.
- Let your child attempt a task, even if you’re not sure he/she is ready for it. You may be surprised to find that the light is now within reach or that they are ready to help with dinner. Even a small task like carrying something to the table is something they can be proud of.
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