Download free independence handout by clicking the image below.
As a busy mum of 3, I understand your concerns about promoting independence skills for your preschool child.
- I know how frustrating it feels to stand back and watch your little one take ages to do their own shoe laces. It's so much quicker if we do it for them.
- I understand how it feels to see your child struggle to put their own jumper on, and you just want to step in and help so you can get out of the door.
- I can appreciate how much more time it takes for us to clean up our child's mess when they feed themselves, versus when we feed them.
It's natural to feel apprehensive about stepping back and encouraging independence for your little ones. It's natural to feel nervous about our child developing these abilities because it takes so many errors, and so much more time for our children to build these skills.
However, I'd like to highlight the importance of promoting independence when our children are young.
Encouraging independence in preschool children helps them become more self-reliant and more confident. By allowing them to carry their own bag and pack their belongings, they learn to depend on themselves and take pride in their accomplishments. They feel like a 'big kid' when they do these actions on their own. It makes us feel sad that they're growing up so quickly, but it makes our children feel so much more capable because we're trusting that they can do it without so much of our help.
Building essential life skills
Teaching your child to handle their own bag and belongings, open their own lunch box, put away their own clothes (with your help at the beginning of course) instills crucial life skills. They learn responsibility, organisation, spatial awareness, and time management—skills that will benefit them not only in kindergarten but throughout their lives.
Nurturing decision-making abilities
Independence allows children to make choices and decisions for themselves, even if they are small ones like what goes into their bag, what to wear today, or how to organise their belongings. This fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills, enabling them to become more capable decision-makers as they grow older.
Enhancing social interactions
Independence skills enable children to engage more effectively in social interactions during drop off and pick up time at kindergarten. When children can manage their own belongings, pick their own outfit (even if it looks ridiculous) they can focus on interacting with their peers and teachers without relying on constant assistance. This contributes to their social and emotional development as they are still strongly connected to their family, but also starting to build connections with their wider community.
Preparing for future transitions
By promoting independence in early childhood, you're preparing your child for future transitions and challenges not only this year, but in years to come. As they move on to higher grades and encounter new environments, they will have the necessary skills to adapt and thrive. Most importantly, they will be more capable of helping you out around the house, packing up their own dishes, putting away their own clothes, so you can start to build ownership, team work, and support for each other throughout their childhood.
The goal isn't to have your child doing absolutely everything independently by kindergarten. But slowly learning one independence skill at a time, that is age appropriate and achievable so they build up their confidence, autonomy, and self-esteem. Because we all want to feel capable and independent as we grow up. These small steps in this handout help you to support your child to develop and grow.
Remember, introducing independence skills is a gradual process. Involve your child in the process, demonstrate how to pack their bag, and offer gentle guidance. Make it enjoyable by turning it into a game or using visual aids. Practice each skill firstly on a weekend when you're not pushed for time.
Consistency and positive reinforcement will go a long way in helping your child embrace their independence. If you have any specific concerns or questions, feel free to share them with me. I'm here to provide support and guidance along this journey.
Learn more in my recent building independence video below.