5 ways to help a child become self-sufficient

November 3, 2015

Five ways to help a child become self-sufficient

As your child grows and matures, you'll want to start letting him or her handle more responsibility. Use these guidelines to ease your child into more responsibility around the home and in their lives.

5 ways to help a child become self-sufficient

1. Start letting go of the reins

Helping your child to be more self-sufficient starts with easing up on what you do for them. While this might be a difficult habit to break at first, it will get easier over time. Start by allowing your child to do basic tasks like dress themselves, set the table before dinner, and even some light cooking with your supervision.

2. Simplify tasks

Help your child to avoid becoming overwhelmed by making certain tasks a little easier. For example, if they are washing dishes, have them wash the simpler, non-breakable dishes while you take care of the glasses and pans with cooked-on food that needs to be scrubbed.

3. Praise first, correct later

When your child first starts to do more for themselves, chances are it won't be perfect. Resist the temptation to correct their mistakes right away; start off by issuing praise for the attempt and for the aspects of the job that they did well. Once you've given them positive reinforcement, gently offer suggestions for how they can do it even better next time.

4. Give kids weekly chores

Assign children age-appropriate chores around the home as they are ready. Simpler tasks that younger children can do are keep their room clean, feed the pet daily and help with dishes and folding laundry. Gradually start giving them household chores like vacuuming carpets and washing the kitchen floor. They'll come to understand that they have responsibilities and become ready for more and more tasks.

5. Direct and indirect compliments

When a child is developing mastery of a new task, praise them both in the moment and at other times. For example, at dinner time you could bring up to the entire family that a child is now tying their own shoes, packing their own lunch, or doing tasks around the home. Your child will likely beam with pride and feel inspired to do even more.

Growing up can be hard to do, but if you ease your child into more responsibility gradually and with lots of praise, you'll give them the solid foundation to move from one success to the next.

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