Encouraging Childhood Independence

When I was 18 I was absolutely hopeless, I found myself pregnant, forced with a situation of having to live on my own, well with a partner and do everything for myself, unfortunately my mum had been so good to me and my brother doing everything for us over the years because it was quicker than teaching us how to do it that we didn’t have a clue. So from this I vowed to bring up children who were more independent, who could do things for themselves and who could take on roles and be good at household things.

My 10 year old Bradley is encouraged to save money for example, we talk all the time about finances and how much it costs to live in the world and what money can be spent on. If we go to a restaurant he can understand that if the meal cost £60 it might have taken us working 4 hours to earn that, or possibly even 8 hours for some people so that he understands the value of money and so that he doesn’t waste his money on crap when he is older. I asked some others how they encouraged their kids to be independent.

Kate Says “Starting small so letting her go to the corner shop by herself, giving her some birthday money to spend on what she wants or not nagging her about her homework and letting her do it when she wants. Then gradually building it up. She’ll be starting senior school next year so we’re working on walking home by herself at the moment. It’s tough though as they are ready to do things way before you are ready to let them! I think talking everything through before and setting clear boundaries on what you expect from them is key to building independence that still keeps them safe.” You can read more about Kate at  www.howtofeelsexyinbigknickers.com

Clare from  The Organizer UK  says “10 year old , makes breakfast for herself , knows how to cook basic dinners , how the washing machine and tumble drier work . Is just being allowed into the shop on her own to pick up bread etc while we wait outside . She’s still not confident to walk anywhere on her own !”

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Josie says “My son is 8 and we just starting to give him some more independence. We’ve had a few talks about what to do in different situations (if he was lost, if someone he didn’t know spoke to him etc) and these have reassured me that he’s ready. He’s been to the post box by himself (5 min walk and next to his school so he knows the way) and last week I let him play on the local green with a friend while I went to the corner shop. I’m keen for him to be able to play out but there is a road he needs to learn to cross safely first, I’m more worried about road safety than stranger danger.” Read more about Josie at www.Methemandtheothers.com

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Karina says “Almost 8 year old, has been gathering recipes for meals that she would like to make. She’s given a budget, we take her shopping for her ingredients and then she prepares the meal herself (we help when needed). She really enjoys it and it gives her a sense of independence. She is also responsible for a few chores around the house, like putting her own washing away and cleaning the table down after meals. Check out Karinas blog at Mums the Nerd

Angela says her daughter is 11 year old, she has been making simple meals such as fajitas from start to finish. She has started walking home from school alone in the last year, and is being responsible for her own mobile phone top up every month in return for chores such as cleaning the car, vacuuming and feeding the pets. Follow her blog at  www.thelifeofspicers.com

 

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You can also give your children little chores to do as they age so at 4 your child is capable of tidying toys away, at 6 your child is capable of dusting, vacuuming and hanging the washing on the line. When your child is 8 they should be able to make a simple meal, dry pots, put their clothes away, dust and polish, take the clothes in off the line and fold and wipe down tables etc. At 10 they should be able to wash the pots, use a washing machine, clean a bathroom and cut the grass. Encouraging children’s independence will help them be more independent adults and learn how to deal with everyday things in the grown up world.

3 thoughts on “Encouraging Childhood Independence

  1. This is so true, I was always pampered by my mum because she just didn’t have the patience to teach me how to do simple chores. And now I’m in the big bad world I really struggle to get into a routine of chores because I never did them. Because I work in education I find it so important to give the children a sense of independence from a young age, as long as it is safe and manageable it’s perfect! Really great post and I loved that you brought in many different views too!
    Alex x
    http://allthingsalexx.wordpress.com

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  2. I think encouraging independence is really important as it only helps them to prepare for adulthood. I was very independent when I was younger and had chores and pocket money which allowed me to manage a small budget. My little brother is not very independent at all and he has no idea how to cook or clean or be independent really and he’s 19. I hope if my hubby and I are blessed with children we will instill independence and life skills within them from a young age as I feel really strongly about it.

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