As parents, its inevitable there will come a day when our children will move out and begin to lead their own lives, although the thought of it now has been sick to my stomach! When it does happen though, I want my children to be independent and ready for the world. Building independence actually starts from a young age with self-help skill development.

When children enter daycare or any schooling situation, they become one of a much larger group. Daycare has the best ratios of all, they are age appropriate and allow for high quality care but they will never be 1:1. When a child enters school the ratio lowers even further and you have 1 teacher to 20 children. I want my child to feel confident and know they can do things for themself.

Only very recently have we begun the introduction of contributing to the household- or chores for want of a better term. There are LOADS of blog posts about age appropriate chores suggested for children. I haven’t really read any of them, I have just gone with what felt right for our child, at this point. Let me be clear- I have a three year old so at any given moment on any given day things go horrendously pear shaped. Things we have been exploring have been taking her finished dish into the kitchen, putting her pj’s on her bed and putting her shoes on herself.

What I really wanted to discuss though was 5 ways to make this journey as stress-free as possible (for you AND them).

  1. Realistic: Make sure the task you are giving them to complete independently it achievable. It’s not fair to tell a child to make up an entire room independently, but you could try specifically asking them to pack away the lego.
  2. Time: Give them plenty of it. There’s no point in asking your child to put their shoes on by themself with 5 minutes before you need to leave or if you are distracted. Try asking them when you have the 10-15 minutes to sit alongside them and offer guidance if needed, especially if they are doing it for the first time!
  3. Be specific: Make sure you give short and clear instructions.
  4. Pick your moment: Don’t even bother if they are tired/cranky. That’s a no-win situation.
  5. Thank: I ensure that I thank my child when they have completed the job. A simple ‘thank you for helping me’, ‘thank you for packing away’. I don’t do reward charts or stickers…but again my daughter is three………

I feel like this blog post could come back to haunt me in another 10-15 years!!!


You may also like to read:

Supporting your child’s transition to school

The Secrets of How to Raise a Confident Child That You Probably Didn’t Know 

Eight vital skills children develop in early learning and care settings

15 Ways to Help Raise Compassionate Children