5 Ways Elementary-Aged Students Can Practice Independence
One of the hardest things to do as a parent or teacher is to watch your kids grow up. To see them become increasingly independent is a bittersweet time. You are proud of them as they do things on their own, but sad that they don’t need you as much. And as hard as it might be, it is important to foster this growth to encourage your children’s independence.
Start off small with chores and projects that your child can do. It can be as simple as brushing their teeth or helping wash dishes. Then set up a reward system for accomplishing these tasks. This will encourage then to do it on their own instead of being asked to every time.
Having a schedule is a great way to garner independence. A child with a stable routine of tasks to be completed (each morning, at school, and when they get home) will begin to do them on their own fairly quickly. Humans look for and learn by patterns. This is how we recognize people we know places that we have been. It is also a great way to set a pattern of behavior of independence.
Allow for Failure
Parents and teachers only want the best for our children and students. Part of that is we don’t want to see them fail. But, failure can be one of the best teachers in helping a child become independent. It shows that this was the wrong way to do it. Just reassure them that it is ok and that they can try again.
Be a Support
Becoming independent doesn’t happen over night. It will take lots of time and sometimes try your patience. Instead of getting frustrated when things go wrong or aren’t getting done, be there for your child, address the wrong behavior and reinforce the correct behavior. This will instill confidence in them and help them move forward.
Praise for Success
It is just as important to notice good behavior, as it is to correct bad behavior. When they do something well or are starting to do things on their own, let them know that you are proud of them. This will not only encourage them in what they are doing, but also inspire them to do more.