Being a parent of two tiny, adorable twins for two years now, I’ve learned that great parenting skill doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Some, like me, have to learn it through a lot of trial and error.
Let me tell you, it’s absolutely normal to be super protective and wanting to provide them with all the love and support in the world. But as harsh as it may sound right now, prepare yourself to let them go when the time comes. There is simply no other way to raise strong, creative, self-sufficient, independent children. Just like you, they will also have to learn it the hard way.
What Is Good Parenting?
There’s no thumb rule of good parenting. Every kid is different and thus, require different treatment. However, sometimes we feel our child is too delicate and simply for fit to do or achieve something on his own. Wrong! Your child is capable of a lot. If you let sentiment-laced parental instincts cloud your rationality, you’ll end up raising a contingent child.
Are You Raising a Dependent Child?
You know you are carving a dependent adult out of your child when you force your dreams on them, when you expect too much, when you make decisions for them. These children often grow up to be frustrated, underachievers or simply someone who can’t cope with the pressure of life.
There are a few key principles to avoid this disaster and raise your children to be a person both you and he will be proud of:
Create the Right Environment
The most path breaking developmental leaps of your child can happen in his room. Set a kid-friendly environment for him in the whole house, especially in his room.
You can start with the simplest thing like installing a toddler night light. Make sure it is easily accessible so that he can turn it on and off as he pleases.
Set up a low shelve where he can arrange his books, toys, and knickknacks, put small table and chairs which he can use for reading, drawing and be creative. Above all, make sure the room is safe enough for them to roam about freely.
Design Fun and Stimulating Activities
Children explore the world in a sensory-driven way. Children psychologists always stress on the importance of toys in child development. They would suggest filling his room with toys like shape sorters, set of blocks, musical toys, puzzles, trains etc.
Open-ended activities like building blocks, shape sorting foster cognitive development, understanding of the concept of trial and error and divergent thinking.
Start with soft snacks and vegetables when your baby is ready to chew. Yes, they will create a mess in the beginning but don’t mind that. Keep small bowls, spoons and some snacks within your child’s reach. This will make your babies feel responsible for procuring their own food.
When they grow up a little more, involve them in the kitchen. I’m not talking about asking them to make a steak. They can sprinkle chocolate chips on their cookie mixture (take a look at this Doughp Cookie Dough review here), knead the bread dough with you, or sprinkle cheese on pasta with you. It’s a great way of teaching self-feeding and also, bonding with your child.
Here are some more important things parent should do to foster independence in children:
- Involve them in conversations. This will make him feel they are in charge of their own care.
- Give them age-appropriate chores to do like making his own bed, organizing his toys and books. This will spark their interest to try new things and be self-dependent from the get-go.
- If they fall while walking, injure themselves slightly while playing, don’t panic. Don’t stop them from doing those things. If they fall, let them stand up on their own.
- Allow them to take challenges. If there is a setback, let them figure out how to get past the roadblock. Soon enough, they will realize that there’s is nothing they can’t achieve with effort and focus.
- Last but the most important, don’t give up. Every child has a different temperament. If your child is unwilling to try out something new at first, be patient. Show them how it’s done, sit with them and describe to them the fun side of a certain activity. Eventually, they will try to do it themselves.
Raising independent children is all about instilling optimism in them teaching them how to push the envelope. Only then they will be ready to face the “real world” on their own. Happy parenting!