No matter how young our kids are we are always thinking about their future right? Today I am discussing the topic of how to introduce independence in the home.
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Our independence journey started last year when I removed my Daughter from school and home educated her for six months. We have always had some firm rules in our house like the obvious chores of cleaning your plate after dinner, doing the recycling and just general day to day jobs. But I wanted my then 5-year-old to start learning some life skills that would take her into adulthood. Our children spend their days following rules and with others making decisions for them. Allowing independence not only builds confidence but it shows we are sharing our trust. Pretty handy for the teenage years too.
Read on for some tips on how to introduce independence in the home
My Daughter is off to summer camp this week and because it is just a daytime stay, she will need a lunch every day. I gave her independence by allowing her to choose her own lunch items and pack her own things. My Daughter is only just seven and the idea of her using a sharp knife still doesn’t sit right with me. I prepared a weeks worth of fruit and veggies in some Tupperware containers so that she can go ahead and choose her own items to go in her lunch box. This simple task is educating our children on healthy food choices and giving them control of what they choose to eat.
Are you constantly nagging your kids to brush their teeth? Time to break out the fun bags and have them get into a tooth brushing routine. Themed toothbrushes and timers work for younger kids and toiletry bags are a nice touch for older ones. Provide a range of cruelty-free/ natural cosmetics and place them in a wash bag that belongs specifically to that child.
Here is a list of items that my Seven-year-old has in her wash bag. It is always refreshed and portable for travelling and sleepovers too.
Plain lip balm
Cruelty-free/paraben free hand cream
Sanitiser for travelling
Clean soft washcloth
This tip is a little harsh but sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind. If X leaves his water bottle at home every day and Mum then drops it into school before morning break every time then X is not going to learn that he needs to keep check of his belongings. As parents we fall into the habit of doing everything for our kids because it’s quicker and easier to pack their lunch themselves, clear their plate and tie their laces. And that’s cool if you totally love Motherhood and have the time to pick up after your kid. Carry on and our darlings will still be expecting you to make their beds when they are 25.
Something we have been practising recently is consequences. What happens if someone’s forgotten. It could be anything from your child packing their own activity bag for a long car journey or having to wear school shoes to drama club because they didn’t think ahead when prompted. There may be some tears but it will only happen once or twice at the most.
Summer camp is a BIG deal and can be anything from staying for just a day or a whole week. The activities on offer ensure exercise and teamwork which is a great attribution to experience.
Preparation is key and by putting our children in a position of independence at a suitable age, introduces problem-solving and self-awareness.
If not tell the honest and whole truth, some kids (like mine) misinterpret the whole situation. Even the most stable of families will find themselves in a situation of grief or consequences at some point in their children’s life. I decided to stop putting a plaster over certain situations as soon as I realised my eldest was able to hold a conversation and differentiate our feelings.
Children should be allowed to express their emotions honestly and will freely learn from their peers. In my opinion, honesty builds bonds between parents and their children, opening real conversations and the ability to share feelings.