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Is Your Preschooler Seeking Independence?

by Tania Cowling | March 22nd, 2016 | Behavior, Preschool

preschool gardenLife seems easy when our children are young and we have control, but as our little ones grow up they want to become more independent. It’s funny because one minute preschoolers are demanding freedom, and the next moment they are clinging to you. There may be times when whining, questions, and emotional tug-of-war can wear your patience, but in the end the results of this growth is worth it. With some independence your preschooler will be able to make decisions, do things alone, and feel the self-confidence that is part of life. Now, these things have to be within reason for the preschool-aged child, but the move toward independence is a milestone in growing up. Here are a few tips to help your child attain independence and still keep your sanity.

Give your child freedom to do things alone. It may mean more work for you, but have patience. Let her dress herself. So what if your youngster matched the wrong pair of socks today? At least compliment her for putting them on by herself. Respect your child’s likes and dislikes. Give into battles that are not that important, like which color shirt she wants to wear today. As long as the clothing is compliant with the weather or occasion, let the style and color slide.

Let them help in the kitchen. Practice helps your child to become more independent, but set some limits. Your kiddo may be able to help dry the pots and pans, maybe not your fine china. And say no to knives or touching cleaning products that can be harmful. Stay firm on activities that are not appropriate for your preschooler’s age.

Learning to make the right choices is not an easy task for a young child, but an important part of becoming independent. Praise your child and give approval for jobs well done. Let your child feel proud! Allow more time for tasks with children of this age. Hurrying and nagging only makes things worse. Think about what your child is trying to do alone and give in to a few extra minutes.

Make sure to provide instruction when necessary to be successful. When your youngster wants to do a task, gently guide him in the right direction. My son always wanted to feed our dogs, and I eventually gave in even though this took a little extra effort and time. I would tell him to put Champ’s food in the red bowl and Nicky’s food in the yellow one and on opposite sides in the kitchen. Sure there were a few spills for me to clean up and thank goodness the canines were patient to get their meal, but my son was overjoyed that he could contribute to feeding our pets.

Most important is to allow your child to fail. It’s through failure that we learn about ourselves. And, what better place for your child to fail than in your own home and in the presence of loving parents. Your child can always try again – so offer the encouragement for next time.

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