Instil Independence in Your Preschooler With These 5 Simple ways
mother teaching her preschooler lifeskills

Instil Independence in Your Preschooler With These 5 Simple ways


Whether you’re a parent of a toddler or a teen, chances are you have thought about how to instil independence in your child. 

With so many different opinions about what’s best, I have pulled together a few ideas to help you promote your preschooler to become a more confident, capable young adult.

Now, because we will discuss how to instil independence in a preschooler, the next natural thought would be that ‘she is too little to do something on her own now’

The need to be wanted as a mother to make everything happen for your child is pretty high for most moms. However, I want you to know that if she doesn’t develop independence and remains reliant on you for every little thing, she will be very annoying and problematic for you soon enough. So ensure you strike a balance between being available and still making her independent.

“In order for children to believe in themselves, we must believe in the first.” –Vicki Hoefle

Following are the 5 simple yet practical steps parents can take to foster independence in their preschooler.

  1. Make her learn new skills
  2. Set little age-corresponding goals
  3. Making her a part of your family regime & routine
  4. Rules are great but, don’t be over-cautious
  5. Acknowledge her achievements

1. Make Her Learn New Skills

Your child will become self-sufficient with every new skill she learns. It allows her to think and act on her own. As a parent to a preschooler, you should always focus on making her learn new skills that support emotional development or social development or even a life skill.

While engaging little ones can be a bit of a challenge, you can always look at creative and exciting games or activities. Fun times with kids can be transformed into opportunities to teach them valuable life skills or success skills in a way that they enjoy thoroughly.

Another way to also ensure that your child genuinely understands whether she learnt a new skill each day is by asking her about it. 

I remember I made it a habit to ask my daughter what she learnt at preschool each day. I usually asked her this while she soaked herself in the bath-tub. This way, I could get her to think about it in a quiet, relaxed space. I wish you made this a part of your routine too, it helps a lot.

2. Set little age-corresponding goals

It’s essential to try to get your preschooler to learn new skills. Setting learning goals for your preschooler is crucial because it helps you focus on what you want your child to achieve by the end of the week, month, or year. 

It could be learning how to hold a spoon and eat without dropping the food or holding a pencil well enough to write legible alphabets. It’s always beneficial to have a target to work towards. 

Involving your kids in the chores you do around the house is a great way to teach them how to be independent. Not only will this help them become more self-sufficient, but it will also give them a greater sense of responsibility and help them feel more grown-up. 

As your preschooler is growing, set little goals for her. The goals can be learning how to fold laundry, colour inside the picture, sort fruits, etc. The list is endless! You can look up the list of age-appropriate chores for your child here.

As you reward your child on every goal she accomplishes, it develops encouragement and a sense of independence in your child. She knows what she can do on her own now.

3. Making her a part of your family regime & routine

I’m a big believer that if you show your kids how to do something and give them the tools to do it, they’ll be more likely to do it themselves. 

I believe that kids need to be able to do things for themselves. I’m not a fan of helicopter parenting, where you’re being extremely focused on every single thing your child does. If you’re somebody who hates to waste time and wants more done in half time, then let me tell you (out of experience), it’s going to be hard to let go of this one.

While not including your toddler in the daily chores is simple and easy, including and teaching your child the small things fosters independence in them. 

Making it a daily routine will ensure they pick up a new skill, become disciplined and consistent.

Instead of keeping them out of the kitchen, you can ask them to help you with the dishes, place cutlery on the table, and simple alike tasks. If you want to build a strong relationship with your child, involve them in things like housework. 

This will make them feel like they’re a part of the family and that they’re contributing. Also, when your preschooler starts going to school, she will already have learned a lot.

4. Rules are great but, don’t be over-cautious

Try writing with a broken pencil in your hand. It’s next to impossible. The same way your behaviours and actions are affected when you are leading your life with crushed self-esteem. It affects your whole being. It affects how you walk, how you talk, how you listen, how you hold yourself. 

It’s the same way, being too cautious about your preschooler comes in the way of her development and growth.

As a parent, you are aware of the importance of creating a good balance in your child’s life. While you want to protect her from anything dangerous or cause harm, you also want her to be able to explore, grow, learn new skills and have fun in life. 

Overprotecting your children makes it difficult for them to learn from their mistakes or take risks to build their confidence.

Let your child do whatever interests her. Ensure that you schedule unstructured playtime every day, include a friend or another family whenever possible. 

If she wants to go out and play, let her play. If she wants to paint, let her paint. Do not be too watchful about dirtying her clothes or the floor. This eventually develops a sense of accomplishment in your child, which, in turn, fosters independence.

5. Acknowledge her achievements

If you want to raise a confident and independent child, you must praise her achievements. Do not overlook anything new your child learns or does. 

Praise her when she learns the national anthem or dresses herself up for the first time on her own.

When you praise your child, this triggers a desire in her to keep learning and doing more. This helps in making her independent in her thinking and behaving patterns.

Pre-school years are the most crucial years for you and your child. What she learns now is going to be a big part of her personality all her life. To make your child responsible and self-sufficient, you need to start fostering independence right when she starts walking, talking, and understanding. This is an integral part of her growing age.

Making it a Practice

To help your preschooler develop a healthy sense of independence, you need to find the right balance between making her feel secure and letting her have enough freedom to explore her world.

Go ahead and implement 1, 2 or all ways and check what works for you and your child.

Dr Poonam Kage

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