Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Five and we talk about Child Independence.

I have always been a strong believer of inculcating independence in children at a young age. Many tend to think that babies and toddlers should be waited upon, from their eating to bathing habits. In my household, both my boys are taught how to do simple chores like, hanging their clothes, dumping their dirty laundry into the basket, cleaning up after mealtime, as well as making their beds. My three year old has even mastered the technique of folding a piece of towel all by himself. Sometimes even I am amazed at how my eighteenth month old automatically puts his dish in the sink after mealtime. With trust and encouragement, these kids can surpass their abilities sometimes. Let's see how you can inculcate independence in your household with these five simple steps too!

1. Entrusting them with belongings and space
Having a room of their own as well as labeling the many things that belong to them helps with identification of their own belongings as well as a desire to keep them well. Sticker labels, sewn on patches, as well as named letterings... in fact all these also help with name recognition! I cannot emphasize how my sons have learnt to spell their names all because they had the knack to spell it out each time they saw their names on their lunchboxes, water bottles, bags and bedroom doors.

Here's something I did with a printer and some cheap paste-on hooks. Making chores interesting may help children with helping out at home. This end product got the boys believing that they are rescue officers, with their bagpacks on standby! 

2. Have a chore chart
We have a Melissa and Doug chore chart hung very prominently in the hallway and it helps my elder one recognize his appointed tasks for the day. Chore charts are easy to make, and customizable to every household need. Make one, and you'll be surprised how well your children can actually help out at home.

3. Start Small with the young ones
Toddlers as young as eight months and above can start to understand certain instructions. Start when they are young, by simply asking them to clean up after they play. It is these itty bitty things that actually prompt them to learn about responsibilities as well as gives a sense of accomplishment for these children. Babies and toddlers are very egocentric beings. Being able to do something and doing it well makes them very proud and happy and in turn feeling good about themselves. 

4. Get them involved
Let your children be involved in your weekly marketing, by letting them read and find the items off the supermarket rack. When you are back from the supermarket, allow them to sort the things out into the respective places such as the fridge or pantry. These are very simple and very accomplishing tasks for these young ones! Even when you are cooking, let them stay around and watch you cook. You'll be amazed how much they can help out if you actually give them the chance to. 

5. Emphasize on self help skills from young
People tend to overlook the importance of self help skills when children are young. Simple things like wearing a sock, or a shoe. Or even buttoning up a shirt. And especially self-feeding! It may take longer (and they may be a little messier!) than if you do it for them, but a little bit of enthusiasm and encouragement from our part may go a long way. Recognize and praise any tasks your child accomplishes.

These are five ways we practice independence in our home, and I must say it has lightened up my "work load" by quite a fair bit. Some may claim this is child labor but I insist that it is important to encourage independence because it will make your child feel confident in his abilities. If he knows you are confident in his abilities, then he too will be confident.

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  1. I love this! I do someof the stuff you've mentioned but should really be more proactive in this. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. We all need reminders from time to time! Your home made to-do list was the one that inspired to write this by the way! :)

  2. The chore charts and labelled hooks are great ideas! I think you've inspired me to figure out a chart for the boys too... ;)

    1. Thank you! I bet you'll have a good time planning what to include in the chore chart for the boys! Do include their favorite bits in like "car washing" for their mini vehicles too so that they won't feel so much like it's such a chore! :)