Helping your child build independence-3

‘Confident kids are competent kids’

In my last blog, we saw the chores we can engage young children in. We will now take a look at what are the important things we need to remember in order to engage them meaningfully and consistently.

  1. Awareness- Parents need to develop the awareness to imbibe the habit of independence in children and letting them do small day-to-day chores. This will build self-confidence in them along with dignity of labor. These also have to be gender neutral.
    Eg- Getting their own plate or cup and putting it away after use, helping in setting up the dinner table.
  2. Consistency- Providing children a consistent opportunity to practice self-independence in day-to-day activities is very important.Children need to follow a certain activity every single day as a part of their routine to make it a permanent habit.
    Eg-Cleaning up their room by putting away used toys or material before leaving the room.
  3. Achievable and Age Appropriate goals- The tasks set up for children should be age appropriate and achievable. They should not be overwhelmed or feel the fear of failure while attempting the task given to them.
    Eg- Watering the plants with a can, drying washed utensils, re-filling groceries in a jar.
  4. Positive reinforcement- Children should be motivated by positive reinforcement on attempting and accomplishing the independent tasks given to them.
    Eg- making positive remarks about the work done by children using phrases such as “ I can see you are a very good helper”, “Thank you for helping me out in bringing the plates and glasses to the dining table”
  5. Encouragement- Consistent encouraging words will help children remain focused and accomplished doing the assigned tasks. In case you see that the child is about to give up on a task use encouraging words.
    Eg- using words such as ‘you are almost there’, ‘you can do it’, ‘cannot wait to see you finish’.
  6. Firmness- Parents(adults) have to be firm themselves. Seeing their children struggle or even fail at times make parents give up on their expectations and patience and they rush in for help. Accepting the struggle and giving children the necessary time to succeed is what parents need to understand. This resistance to tasks might also result in unpleasant interactions; fury and throwing fits and emotional mellow down can be seen at times, but parents should not give up.
    Eg- Using words such as “I am proud of the hard work you are putting in”, “Its ok even if you have to do it again”, “You need to give it a try and I am sure you will succeed”.
  7. Clear expectations- Parents have to have a clear idea about what are the expected outcomes of the tasks given to their children. The same need to be communicated to the children before they start the task and intermittent reminders are equally necessary for successful outcome.Eg- “I expect you to keep your shoes and school bag in the assigned place properly every day”.

Developing a routine for the house will help children develop a system and discipline by themselves. This will have an everlasting impact on their lives. Let us take a step towards making our children confident and competent!