How to Subtly Teach Your Kids to Be More Independent

Although there are many valuable lessons a parent should teach their child, the power of independence is among the most valuable. Children often turn to their parents for problem-solving and comfort, which can lead to co-dependence, thus causing a lack of their own independence. Teaching a child independence from a young age can be extremely beneficial to the child’s well-being and future.

We at Bright Side have gathered a list of tips you can use to make your child more independent in the long run.

1. Have your kids lead you back to your car or home.

Letting your child lead you to your car or home any time you go somewhere can help them develop navigation and memory skills. It can also help them build their independence and confidence, and you can do this even when you go hiking, fishing, and shopping.

2. Make sure your child knows their legal first and last name.

There are many children in schools that don’t know their full names. It becomes an issue in the classroom when there are kids with the same first names who don’t know their last names. Some don’t even know their first names since they always are called by their nickname at home. You can prep them for school by teaching them their home address, home phone number, and your and your spouse’s full names.

3. Design your home in a way for them to reach everything safely.

The way your house and your child’s room are organized greatly affects how independent they can become. If you want your child to perform tasks independently, it might be smart to place your napkins, forks, water, or clothes somewhere they can reach. You may place your rack for clothes a bit lower, or add a hook for their backpack closer to them so they can reach it. The more you do these tasks for them, the less they do themselves.

4. Try not to remind them to do things often.

If you nag them often, this can make them depend on you more. Try to avoid saying things like, “Don’t forget to wash the dishes if you want to get extra playtime.” By saying this, your kid will get used to you reminding them instead of creating a way to remind themselves. Try to give directions once, and then give your kid a chance to prove they can be independent.

5. Give your children a choice when deciding to give them candy.

If your child wants candy that comes in little pieces, such as Skittles or M&M’s, ask them how many pieces of candy they have. For example, ask, “Do you want 3 or 5 Skittles?” They may likely choose the higher number and feel like they accomplished something. This way, they don’t only become more confident but also reach independence. If you want to opt for a healthier option, cut an orange into pieces and have them count.

It’s also important to treat them like adults while they’re still small. Making their own decisions and teaching them about credit cards and finances can help them understand the value of money.

6. Encourage independent play.

You can encourage your child to play independently as early as 1 year old. First, start off with a few minutes of playing alone in their room, and slowly increase it in time. At 3-4 years old, when they wake up early in the morning, teach them to play for a while instead of going to wake you up. In time, your kid will enjoy this activity and may keep doing it.

If you are unsure of how to teach your toddler independent play, there are plenty of ways. You can start off by bringing them to the kitchen with you while you make dinner. Simply give them a mixing bowl and some spoons they can play with. If nothing seems to work, you can give them a healthy snack.

What techniques do you use to make your child become more independent? Will you incorporate some of these tips?


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