Developing Independence

Developing independence in a child can be difficult.  Trying to juggle which child and at what age are they ready to do said activity.  For my home I determine all this off of the maturity they are currently showing. 

For example: if my 8-year-old cannot follow directions and then wants to go out and play with his neighborhood friends.  I will not allow this.  I explain to him you have not listened to me in the home. I cannot trust that you will come home when your alarm goes off.  Often times he takes this as a reason to debate this, but I stand my ground.

This is the same for their chores. All the children from age 4-11 does their own laundry, in their own way.  The little’s see as doing their laundry as a simple task of putting the laundry in the washer, moving it to the dryer and then they put it away.  All the older children are tasked with turning the washer and dryer on.

Our house is currently working on having the children all solve their problems without running to a parent first.  This has become a large task.  It often takes many many reminders during the day that we will not listen to it.  I start off in the morning, by reminding them all they have been taught and have the tools to solve their problems without yelling or needing a parent, then about 600 times more throughout the day.

In our house we also encourage the children to all help each other first.  We always direct questions such as “Can you tie my shoe?” or “Mom, can you unbuckle me?” to another sibling.  I get a lot of praise from the school how helpful our children can be.  They have also mentioned how caring at times the children can act towards others. (We have a close relationship to the school due to the high needs of our children)

In our home we also deal with trauma and behavioral extremes day-to-day.  Different days require a different ability for the children.  Like I mentioned earlier we determine the child’s independent ability based on how they behave.  This can be based off of their day, week, or even month.  If we have had a rough time then the child will not be able to do much without a parents watchful eye.  This can even include playing with siblings, taking showers, or going through backpacks in the van before drop off.  With parental involvement at such a high on these times, we make sure that any chance to provide independence such as finishing homework with out fussing we take it and try to build on it.

Developing independence is such a difficult but required skill for children.  Making sure you allow your child build their skills and show maturity will support your parenting goals.  You will see your child blossom and want to do their own things (at least for a while).  

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