Every child has his or her own pace at becoming self-sufficient.
While most children with exceptionalities can also achieve a great measure of independence, these students may need extra assistance in hitting these milestones.
Here are five ways to help your child get there!
1. Baby Steps
Starting new tasks is less intimidating for us all when they are done in small pieces. For example, don’t stand aside and direct your child to make himself scrambled eggs.
Start by having him bring the eggs. Next step, have him beat the eggs for you. When you’re both okay with it, give him a few runs on cracking the eggs, himself. With the stove, you’ll need to supervise for a while, but slowly give more independence and less instruction.
There are going to be errors. That’s just the way it goes. Minimize the negative and accentuate the positive, no matter how hard you have to dig for the positive.
If you’re too frustrated to deal with the situation, do it another day. Only tackle new skills when you’re both in a great mood, feeling positive, and you have the time to spend getting the job done right.
Compliment! Encourage! Smile together!
3. Take Your Child Seriously
Complaints, even if they’re about water being too wet, need to be taken seriously. A child needs to know that her opinion matters. “Yep, I know. Water is wet, you’re right. That’s what makes it work in helping us clean up. It’d also be pretty hard to drink if it was dry, huh?”
4. Make Belongings Accessible
Understandably, you don’t want every toy thrown everywhere, constantly. Still, a child that has to ask for assistance over and over and over will have a very hard time even conceiving of doing things on her own. Have some toys readily available. Hang self care items, such as her hairbrush and toothbrush, at her level so that she can get them herself.
5. Give Responsibility
Do this on your child’s level, but do it. Some children can help with dishes, some can help with siblings. Some can fold and put away their own laundry. Some can “read” the dog a bedtime story. Start small, but start.
Slow starts plus appropriate level plus lots of patience makes for a child on the route to independence. Make sure you’re on the right path and you’ll (both) get there, eventually!
More Useful Resources
- Help yourself! 8 tips for teaching kids to be more independent
- Parenting: Raise Independent Children