Parents are naturally inclined to do things on their child’s behalf, whether that be to save time or simply to make life easier for the youngster. However, when parents take over, they are inadvertently sending a message that they don’t have faith in their child’s abilities, which will unfortunately have long-lasting side effects. Your child will never learn to believe in themselves or solve problems independently and will end up avoiding age-appropriate tasks. If this all sounds familiar, you may benefit from the following tips from a nursery in Harpenden.
When you make the conscious decision to help your child become more independent, words of encouragement are ideal in boosting their confidence. Help them to feel capable by demonstrating your own trust in their abilities. For example, you could say something like “You are a big girl now, and big girls are able to get themselves ready in the morning without mummy or daddy’s help”.
Get your child involved in the conversation and ask them what they think they are capable of doing on their own. This will show your child that you respect their opinion and input, which will contribute to the increased confidence you are trying to achieve. Take it slow and try to tackle one thing at a time so that your child doesn’t become too overwhelmed, and always praise their effort regardless of the outcome.
Suggest Extra-Curricular Activities
It’s essential for children to spend time with different people, and more importantly, away from you from time to time. Extra-curricular activities, such as drama club or a sports team, are great for helping children become more comfortable talking to people other than their parents and developing their own set of interests.
Encourage Decision Making
By providing your child with opportunities to make choices throughout the day, you will give them a sense of control over their own life which leads to independent thinking. So, rather than decided what you are going to have for your evening meal, ask your child what they would like. Next time you have a movie night, let your child pick which film you’re going to watch.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
As well as encouraging your child to make their own decisions, asking open-ended questions is another way to encourage independent thinking. It will give them an opportunity to dig deeper and form their own opinions, rather than simply replicating what other people are saying all of the time.
When your child is learning how to do something new, they will make mistakes. This is inevitable so there’s no point in dwelling. When these mistakes happen, show your child how to fix it or learn from it without making them feel bad. If they are afraid to fail, they will be afraid to try.
For instance, if your child is learning how to retrieve their own breakfast in the morning and they spill some milk over the table, try not to criticise them or show them any signs of frustration. Instead, show them how to clean up the milk and assure them that even grown ups make mistakes like this. Praise them for their effort in trying to pour the milk on their own. Essentially, you want to try and focus on positive encouragement.
Give Your Child Responsibilities
Every time your child successfully completes a task you have given them, they will feel more self-assured. They might dig their heels in at first and refuse to help, but it’s important that they understand each member of the family has a vital role in successfully running a household. It might be quicker or easier to complete the tasks yourself but doing so won’t help your child develop these key skills.