Independence gives the child a sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. Naturally, children want to develop, and if given space and trust, they will usually take the opportunity to be independent. By offering learning experiences, without over-questioning them, your child will experience success and feel competent.
Babies still can’t take care of themselves. In other words, they’re not self-sufficient. As they get older, their self-confidence increases. What exactly does self-reliance mean? And why is it so important?
What is self-reliance?
In short, self-reliance is the ability to take care of yourself. Babies and young children are not yet self-sufficient, they still need help eating and drinking, dressing, bathing, etc. Self-reliance is something children develop over the years. How quickly it develops differs from the child, as each develops at its own pace.
You can support your child’s self-reliance by taking some guidelines such as starting certain tasks together, letting him try it alone while you’re supervising him or her. When it grows it is good that at different stages of its development you give it the opportunity to learn how to do it alone, it is ok to supervise it and explain but let it experience, if it is wrong it is not a problem, this way is how you will learn to be self-sufficient.
In the process of independence, something will go wrong more than once. If he wants to help you set the table, but drops a few drops or accidentally throws the spoon with the empty yogurt can in the trash, try to be patient, he tries to get it right, but he won’t make it the first time.
Self-reliance also doesn’t mean you have to be able to do everything for yourself. Knowing how to ask for help is also a form of self-reliance. Before offering help, first check if you can do it yourself, if so, you can help with small instructions, without you doing it. For example, if you may not yet be able to tie your laces, but if you can put your shoes on.
It’s important to slowly encourage your child’s self-reliance. In addition to being a satisfaction to you as a mother, it’s also good for your self-esteem and personal progress. It’s an important process in its development, as you can’t always spend 100 percent of your time looking at it.
Being independent also means learning the usual rules, such as social rules. For example, traffic rules, respect traffic lights or make no noise and take care of library books.
Independence by age
As I said, children are becoming more and more self-sufficient over the years. Here are some skills that match self-reliance by age. Aren’t the examples fully in line with your child’s development? Do not worry! Every child develops in their own way. If in doubt, it’s always good to check with your pediatrician.
Playing is important for children’s independence. Playing is, by definition, learning for children. It is important a stimulating environment with enough challenging game material and in which you are given space to discover and learn. What most stimulates a young child is letting him do something he can, with a little help. After all, something that’s too easy is not a challenge. And on the other hand, something that’s too difficult can cause unnecessary frustration to your little one. So try to find a good balance and use activities and toys that fit your child’s level.
0 to 1 year
Newborns are totally dependent, they can hardly do anything without help. However, during this stage, your child takes many steps toward self-reliance, such as grabbing something, turning around, sitting, getting up, crawling, and even walking. Your baby also starts eating solid foods and learns to drink from a cup. Around his first birthday, he can do a lot of things on his own, but he’s still a long way from self-sufficient.
At this stage, it becomes even more independent little by little. You’ll want to do more and more things by yourself, such as eating with a fork, combing your hair, walking instead of sitting in the stroller, and going up and down the stairs. You’ll start moving around on your own more and more often. Although he’ll keep watching you closely and probably won’t dare get too far away.
During this stage, he also learns that he has an opinion of his own. You can get pretty stubborn and not always listen to what you’re told. This can be very tiring. This phase is not called “the two terrible” for nothing. On the other hand, you can do more and better the small tasks and enjoy doing them, such as taking your plate to the kitchen and grabbing your shoes. These kinds of tasks also give you self-confidence, an important step on the road to self-reliance.
3 to 6 years
During the preschool stage, it becomes even more independent and develops slowly but surely self-sufficiency. Learn how to dress, go to the bathroom alone, and soon after cycling. In kindergarten, its independence is also encouraged. At this point, he is also able to tell himself what he wants. And if you let your child guide you, he’ll probably know the right route from the supermarket home. Above all, he tries to give him this kind of task (without losing sight of him, of course), which gives a further impetus to his self-confidence.
6 to 12 years old
In elementary school, your child learns a lot, at a rate that will sometimes surprise you. With all this wisdom, his independence also grows. Learn to read and write, arithmetic, and things like looking at the clock. You can start practicing the use of money, teaching your child how to deal with money.
Don’t wait too long, it will take a while to be able to process what it consists of, when you can spend it and how to save to be able to buy something you want but being more expensive you need a saving period with the patience that comes with it. This may take some time at first, but your child will probably be able to start handling it during this stage, so it’s already quite self-sufficient. Of course, it’s important to keep monitoring and setting limits, but don’t be too strict.
It’s important that your child has room to try things for himself. That he can decide more and more for himself, with things like what clothes he wears, what sport he wants to practice, whether he does his homework before or after dinner. Keep giving him tasks too, you can periodically add a task he’s never done before. If you succeed, you will increase your self-confidence. The more tasks he can do himself, the more self-sufficient your child will be. Obviously always give him that space in a supervised way.
Self-sufficiency in case of panic
A self-sufficient child knows better what to do in panic situations. But what he needs to do in those moments, you’ll have to show him. Here are some helpful tips:
-For example, do you go to the beach or an amusement park? You can put a wristband with his name and phone number on it. Tell him that if he gets lost, he doesn’t panic as he has the tool for you to find him, he just has to look for the right person as a safe person or another mom or dad with kids.
-Agree on a benchmark in case they get lost, and try not to get angry at the moment, show how happy you are to have it back. At another quieter time, you can talk about it to avoid such a situation in the future.
-Does your child ride a bike or walk to school on their own or play outside with friends? Make arrangements on what to do if you fall, for example. When the time comes, you may consider that your child has a phone of his or her own, where you can locate him or her at any time.
– Show him that he should never leave with anyone without asking you first. Not even with acquaintances.
Stimulating the autonomy and independence of our children is the best way to prepare them to become responsible adults, who know how to make decisions for themselves and that they do not let themselves be negatively influenced.
All the information we give you in this article is indicative as each child and each family is different and unique.
Carolina González Ramos
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