Teaching Independence to your Child is Imperative

[Video is Starring: MsQueenRo, Princess Raegan, and cousin Autumn]

My Independent Little Person

I turn around thinking Raegan was behind me and she comes out of the shadows with her own shopping cart!

Queen: “Where are you going with that little girl?”

Princess: “I want to go shopping like you Mommy!”

From the start, I have taught Raegan to be independent.  If she was able to get a toy out the toy box, she was able to put it back once finished playing.  If she was tall enough to reach the refrigerator, she was tall enough to open it and grab her own drink out when she became thirsty.  So it didn’t surprise me that she wanted to have her own shopping cart to buy her own groceries.

How do you teach Independence?

Easy… STOP DOING STUFF FOR THEM!  I know that is easier said then done… actually, yes it is… it IS easy!  Example: As early as 5 to 6 months when they can begin to hold a bottle on their own, let them do it.  Take their hands, place it on the bottle and let them hold it on their own.  This technique teaches them organized motor skills at an early age. Another example: Potty training… one of the hardest skills to teach a child right? Wrong!  I understand every kid is different but it begins with patience and persistence from the parents.

Raegan was potty trained by 15 months… how… one way, right after she ate/drank, I put her on the potty- yep, each time.  Because Rae is smaller in statue, I bought a cute little Minnie Mouse Potty trainer (click the link for an example) that when flushed, Minnie Mouse would say “Hooray! and clap”.  The point: what person doesn’t like praise? When they do something right, give the biggest smile and say something like… “yay, you did it!” Good behaviors are learned faster with honey than with vinegar.

Why is teaching Independence important?

Do you want to be getting up every 5 minutes to grab something off the couch or would your rather them do it on their own?  Do you really feel like coming home from work putting on their night clothes and then going to cook dinner or would you like to just begin cooking b/c your kid can go to their room and put their own night clothes on?  Yes, Raegan can do all of these things and more!  Tip: I make her things accessible so that she can reach items w/out asking me. Teaching independence is important b/c when your child is not around you, you can feel confident that they can fend for themselves no matter what age.  Let’s face it… no one wants to feel micro-managed.  As long as you are teaching independence, you are molding kids into leaders.

Watch out, teaching Independence can Backfire!

If your personality is of a strong-willed nature, chances are your child will inherit the same personality or at least part of it.  [Yes, I’m talking about myself and her dad. Raegan inherited it from both sides so she was doomed- LOL!] Any-who… if this is the case, you will need to teach your child the difference between “I can do it” then from “I can do it b/c I want to.”  The difference: “I can do it” means… I know how to do it, just let me; “I can do it b/c I want to” means… I know how to do it, when to do it and no matter what you tell me… I’m going to do it.

<—SMH… that’s the behavior that brings out old grandma memories of her going out back to grab a switch.

Tip: Always explain why it’s important for them to act in a certain manner at a certain time.

Example: Princess: “Mommy, I want juice.”     Queen: “Is that how you ask Raegan?”

Princess: “Mommy, can I have juice please?”  Queen: “That’s better… sure, you can go grab it out the fridge, right? Why?”

Princess: “B/c I am a big girl!”     Queen: “Yes you are Pooh.”

It’s never too late!

In the end, it’s never too late to begin teaching independence,  I can imagine if you wait too long, however, the child gets set in their ways.  I hear teaching anything during teenage years (especially for girls) can be a beast.  Therefore, I recommend beginning as early as possible.  Stop doing so much for your kids or anyone for that matter… sometimes tough love, can be the best love!

Comment Below: What is another technique to use when teaching independence to your kids?

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