Raising an independent child and watching them go out on their own is one of the most fulfilling and difficult parts of parenthood. Whether you’re encouraging them to try out for a sports team or to try a new skill, there are plenty of ways that you can begin fostering an independent spirit within your child. If you start encouraging this independence from an early age, you’ll help set your child up for future success. It will help them think for themselves, which is a valuable and practical life skill that will serve them throughout their lives. Regardless of whether you’re a new or seasoned parent, these four easy-to-use tips can help you raise an independent child.
1. Encourage Independent Reading Early On
Helping your child to love reading is a sure-fire way to cultivate independence in your child. Reading on a regular basis gives kids many long-term learning benefits. It also helps them develop a sense of personal accomplishment. A great first step is to find a genre you know your child will enjoy. Schedule a daily reading time or make plans for a monthly visit to your local library to give your child more opportunities to read. When kids are reading about topics they love, they are more likely to finish books on their own. And the more books a child finishes independently, the more motivation they feel regarding their own personal growth.
2. Take Your Older Child Shopping
To raise an independent child, consider starting them off with a small allowance from a young age. Starting small with a dollar each week can teach them responsibility when it comes to money. Also, self-reliance around money is a great way to help your child set goals that have tangible outcomes.
When your child makes their first purchases, they might be tempted to buy something that is poor quality. These items won’t last them long, so let them make that mistake once or twice. Part of raising an independent child is allowing them to make their own choices. Once they’ve made their mistake, you can then help them see where there is room for improvement. In this case, making poor investments in toys, clothing, or any other products will teach them to be smarter with their money next time. As your child matures, it will hopefully inspire them to save up and ask for your advice in the future.
If you have an older child, put their allowance to practical use by taking them shopping with you. This will teach them to be responsible and independent with their money. Often kids brands might be trendy, but fall apart easily — you can introduce them to brands that are both affordable and high quality.
A fun way to encourage responsible spending is to help your child explore all the ways they can get the most “bang for their buck.” For example, they might love finding deals by using online thrift shops to shop for their clothing. Or if you have a child who loves planning, you could help them create lists of the things they want to buy with the full retail price written out. Then, when sale time rolls around, they’ll love seeing how much they have saved!
3. Reward Initiative
Whether your child wants to take charge of their birthday party theme, or you see them organizing a game of tag with their friends, it’s important to reward your child for taking initiative. The more positive affirmation you give to your kids when it comes to taking initiative, the better. When you see them doing simple chores, making new friends, or for older kids, completing their homework, it’s important to show them that they should be proud of their independence. The sense of accomplishment and pride when it comes to their work will stick with them in the future.
4. Discuss Their Passions
Try to regularly have open discussions with your kids about the things that get them most excited. From TV shows to favorite songs, no topic should be off the table. When your kids are free to share what makes them happiest, they start to dream for the future. And kids who have bright visions of the future are more likely to plan for and actively pursue their dreams. Be sure to look for ways for them to experience what they’re passionate about first hand, as this is a great way to nurture your child’s passions. Whether attending a local concert, a museum exhibit, or even volunteering for a cause, independence starts with inspiration. If your child is on the introverted side, get them out of their shell by taking notice of their talents. Point out any times you see your child using their gifts and encourage them to keep at it. Encouragement when it comes to your child’s strengths will give them confidence to use their unique abilities in years to come.
What are you doing with your child to encourage their independence? Let us know in the comments below! If your child seems to be struggling with finding their own independence, try using one of our easy-to-use tips to get them started. Whether you encourage reading early on, reward initiative, or take them shopping with you, there are plenty of ways for you to begin fostering an independent spirit within your child.