Accustomed that we are caring for children from birth, we often do not even realize that those fragile and dependent beings started walking with their own legs, can feed themselves and have already demonstrated some tastes and preferences. So we continue to feed in their mouths, to dress them and to clean each toy scattered around the house , which can be an obstacle for them to tread their way, full of challenges and discoveries, towards autonomy.
In a way, this can happen because of overprotection: we want to protect them from everything and everyone from before birth. Another reason for such behavior can be explained by our willingness to have “everything for yesterday,” which does not allow our children to perform their tasks in their time – which is unbelievably different from ours.
It’s hard to hold back! When we see, we are already giving the last spoonfuls of lunch in their mouths and threading shirt, pants and shoes on grown boys, because we are in a hurry, late for some commitment … We ended up doing in the place of the child a task that she could perfectly complete alone , Because we do not have the patience to wait.
Whatever your reason, know that it is important to encourage children to have independence . Children who are encouraged to have autonomy become more confident and happy, just as they feel proud to be able to fulfill a task at the request of their parents. Also, letting them do some tasks on their own makes them feel encouraged to pursue new challenges.
There is even more great benefit. Their burden of household chores will become lighter as the children begin to do some activities themselves. In that sense, everyone wins!
How about trying? We separate some tips on how to stimulate the autonomy of children in everyday life .
1) At the time of dressing. A good time to teach children to dress alone is between 2 and a half and 3 years. Encourage your child to start wearing a few pieces of clothing alone (they usually learn faster to wear pants, shorts, shorts and skirts than shirts and shirts). While he is learning to dress, be realistic and patient: do not cover him with a full change of clothes in 2 minutes. If you’re late for an appointment, let him see for himself just the easy parts.
It is also interesting to adapt the furniture so that your child has easy access to clothes and shoes. Place garment parts in the lower drawers of the dresser or dresser; Or look for clothes racks and macaws aimed at children; Or even keep a box, basket or stool where you can leave two, at most three, changing options – many options are a source of conflict even for adults.
Since childhood, teach your child to throw dirty clothes in a basket and not to spread dirty clothes around the house – this is also a bad habit that many adults grow.
One more tip to stimulate children’s autonomy over clothing is to have them train to open the zipper, tie the lace, and button and unbutton buttons using their own clothes. You can also create a button frame, like the one we indicate in this article .
The biggest challenge may lie in teaching the child to choose appropriate clothing to suit the temperature, climate, occasion, location … and how to differentiate dirty clothes from clean ones.
2) Cleaning and house organization. Give your children the opportunity to contribute to the cleanliness and organization of the home. Children between the ages of 2 and 3 can store their toys and books in the appropriate places, as well as put their laundry in the basket or the diaper in the trash. At this age the little ones can sweep away food scraps that they have knocked over, as well as wipe away the water or juice spilled on the floor. It’s worth having a child’s broom and shovel kit or a set of mini shovel and broom, as well as a drawer with cloths suitable for cleaning.
For children over 3, along with these utensils you can leave a spray container with a solution of water and vinegar to use on the floor.
At this stage, your child can also help set and clear the table. Under your supervision, on a safe platform, encourage children over 4 years to help with the dishes. In this age group they can also dry and store the dishes, as well as tidying up their own beds. Between the ages of 6 and 7, children are able to help clean the house, as well as folding clothes and towels.
3) Power supply. It is important to encourage children to eat on their own from an early age. Let the small ones tip and smear by eating with the appropriate hands or cutlery. That’s how they learn. At age 2, a child can eat alone, but often our haste and cleansing craze prevents it from improving your motor skills.
We should make them gain autonomy not only at the table during the main meals of the day, but also to eat when they feel like it. To do this, leave fruits already washed in the fruit bowl or in the refrigerator drawer so they can be served. Put plastic containers in the refrigerator with the fruits that need to be peeled, such as orange, watermelon and pineapple. Also reserve an accessible space in the refrigerator for juice, milk and yogurt. Place dishes, cups, and cutlery in the cupboard on shelves that they can reach.
One more good call is to call the kids to cook . Children over 3 years old (or even just before) can help prepare a cake by adding and stirring the ingredients, for example. Above 6 years, they can peel potatoes, carrots and zucchini, make salad and juices and prepare their own snack .
4) Books and toys . It is important that children also have the autonomy and independence to handle books on their own. Create a reading corner. Leave the books in various corners of the house so that they have full access. Teach them how to organize and save books.
As for toys, it is easy to remember: they must keep them in their place. It does not matter that you have to remind them all the time.
5) Personal hygiene. Adapt the bathroom so that children over 3 years can take a shower alone, under the supervision of an adult. Leave at the time shampoo and soap. Teach them to rub their body parts and wash their hair. Always help them, but let them learn to take care of their own hygiene.
In the unfurling process, use a shank or a seat reducer with a stool or ladder.
Put a bench in the bathroom to reach the sink. Leave toothpaste and brush accessible. For children under 5 years of age, it is interesting that you brush more thoroughly and then let them finish the process.
Before investing heavily in the autonomy of your children, consider the following: You will need patience, to teach them to do each task as often as it takes and a bit of creativity to encourage them in times of discouragement. Do not compare the development of skills among your children. Lastly, resist the urge to do for them what you know you are already capable of doing on your own.
Your effort will be worth it!