Help Your Child Develop Independence
How to Recognize When Your Child Needs Independence
Guest post by Kids ‘R’ Kids of Dallas/Fort Worth
A child developing his or her own independence is inevitable, though you might be surprised at how early it starts. If you’re thinking middle school – think again! According to babycenter.com’s article Developmental Milestones, “At around 6 or 7 months, your baby begins to realize that he’s separate from you and that you can leave him alone.” It is not long after that “newborn” feeling goes away that he realizes he has his own hands and feet, both with which he can move about on his own. This does not mean that baby wants to be completely independent from you as separation anxiety is likely to accompany this transition. The road from dependence to independence occurs in a series of stages, all along which it is important that the parents help baby through each stage.
Help your child develop independence
- Decide now you want your child to become independent.
- Allowing a child to struggle is one of the best ways to help develop his independence.
- Resist the urge to always help.
Don’t Step in Too Soon
By doing too much for your child, you encourage dependence. Deciding now that you want your child to be independent gives you a head start in allowing your child to do things for himself. For instance, if baby is struggling to reach a ball – don’t get it for him! If he has a reasonable chance of getting it, let him keeping trying. He needs to work for that ball because as he does, he moves forward in his developmental independence. You may see him struggling to get to a ball while he’s on the floor, yet his efforts are not too efficient. So trying to be helpful, you get the ball for him. This interferes with his opportunity to struggle with the world.
- If you do it for him, he won’t have to struggle.
- If he doesn’t struggle a little, he won’t learn to do it for himself.
- If he doesn’t learn to do it for himself, he won’t develop independence.
There will be many times when your child will try to do something for himself. Whether it’s reaching for something just beyond his grasp or getting from where he is now to where he wants to be, or fixing his attention on some object and trying to either bring it to himself, or getting himself to it. In all these situations he will have a chance to interact and figure out obstacles on his own. As he works, he learns and develops.
By stepping in too soon, you take away the important benefits of his making an effort, learning and development. The older your child becomes, the more he will be able to do for himself. Be sure to praise your child for trying – it makes the struggle worth the effort.
One of the most important gifts you can offer your baby is the opportunity to become a person in his own right. Of course, you will do for him all the things he cannot do for himself, while at the same time, let him do for himself whenever possible. It’s not too soon to start helping him develop his independence!
Kids ‘R’ Kids believes that happy, loved, connected children are destined for success in every facet of their lives. Our most cherished principle, “Hug First, Then Teach,” defines every aspect of who we are at Kids ‘R’ Kids. When it comes to teaching, Kids ‘R’ Kids understands the importance of involving families with their child’s developmental milestones and accomplishments. We hope you will drop by for a tour at one of our 12 locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. You will find a list of our locations on www.dfwkidsrkids.com.