It may feel easier to just get things done for your young child - especially when everyone's in a rush or if you don't want to clean up messes.
Children don't learn to be independent overnight, it takes days, weeks and months of patient teaching. But when you see your child helping around the house and doing things independently, you’ll definitely feel like all the time spent was well worth it .
Here are six fun ways to teach your child how to be more independent at every age!
Toddler (1 to 3 years)
1. Simple chores around the house
Who says housework cannot be fun? To your toddler, simple chores like pegging clothes up, wiping down furniture, and drying and keeping cutlery are wonderful ways to keep busy. These chores may take longer when your little one is helping out, but don’t be impatient and let her take her time to do these tasks. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!
2. Preparing to go out
Wipes, tissue paper, hand sanitiser, meal scissors, extra mask, snacks - check! Instead of getting all flustered as you pack furiously for your family before heading out, why not enlist your eager little one’s help in the process? It’s not only fun for your child to look for items that are needed like a treasure hunt, you are also teaching him how to be responsible for his own items.
Pre-schooler (4 to 6 years)
1. Dressing up
At this age, you’ll want to encourage your child to dress up independently. Let your child choose what she wants to wear by pointing out to her the types of clothes that are suitable for the occasion, then let her try putting on her own clothes. Kids are really observant and they may already know how to put on certain items of clothing without you needing to fuss too much.
2. Slightly more complex chores
Housework is the gift that keeps giving, truly. There’re so many lessons to be learnt from doing these chores around the house , and there’s certainly work for children of every age to do!
At this age, your young child can help with simple meal preparation like gathering ingredients, plucking off stems of vegetables or fruit, and washing produce. Make packing toys a game - challenge them to complete the task before the time runs out for a small reward, or you can even get them to practice throwing soft toys into a basket.
Primary School Child (7 to 12 years)
1. Organising their own schedule
Getting junior involved in planning his own schedule is a great way to teach him to be responsible for their own time. It’s great bonding too, as you gain insights on how your child chooses to spend his day. Set some parameters so that your child knows what is expected. For example, should he complete his school homework each day before he gets screen time? Or is there a maximum number of hours of games he can play in a week?
2. Solo grocery shopping
Maybe this is a rite of passage activity, because hands up if you’ve done this as a kid! Sending your child out to the grocery store while you wait at a designated meeting spot nearby is a wonderful activity to instil independence in your child. Trusting her with this solo errand will definitely put her in good stead to be an independent and responsible person in the years to come.