Mental Health

How To Teach Your Kids To Be Independent

It is importnat to make children feel that they are capable of doing something. Opportunities where they can act and feel like their own “big kid" should be provided for them.

Dr. Jacqueline Sperling, a clinical psychologist and instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Extension School, shared a few strategies on how to foster children's independence even at a young age.

She said to allow children to prepare their own snacks or order it themselves. Have them also pick their own clothes or let them ask certain people questions like in a toy store.

Kids should be permitted to walk to a friend's house depending in which area they live. Perhaps, allow them to act like an older sibling to a neighbor’s child while the parent takes care of household chores.

In instances that a kid is curious about something such as a word’s definition, encourage him or her to look it up without other people's assistance.

Dr. Sperling added to gradually engage children in chores, consequently making them feel capable and helpful. This teaches them on how to do things on their own and take care of themselves.

For example, train them to practice three behaviors each day. These conducts will shift to match their developmental stage over time.

Dr. Sperling also recommended to create a chore chart that children can follow as early as the age of two. For example, at two years old, assign the toddler to put his or her own toys away.

At the age of four, let them help in feeding pets, and at six years old, task them to put away the laundry. This way, they can start building their self-confidence right on.

Associating allowance to accomplished chores can teach children on how to manage money, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Select chores that serve the household, rather than only the children — for example, unloading the dishwasher instead of self-care activities," Dr. Sperling added.

By doing this, children will understand that money is earned out of helping a larger community and not just doing things for oneself. Also, it will be helpful to let children learn the concepts of saving, spending and giving their earned money by putting it in separate containers.

"Save" container can teach kids on how to be prudent for the future, "spend" container lets them ponder if their hard-earned cash is worth buying toys, while "give" container can promote charitable gestures in them.

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