How to Foster Self-reliance in Children


Every parent prides in having a child who is able to handle life’s encounters on their own. These children grow to become responsible, independent and good decision makers in the future.

However, this self-reliance trait doesn’t just happen, it’s a character that is groomed as the child grows. Here is how parents can engage their children to cultivate the trait.

Start early

Jennifer Asiimwe, a mother of four, notes that you should teach your child to be independent as early as three years. Teach them to keep their clothes, take their cups to the kitchen after having tea, clean the floor in case they pour something among others.

This will teach a child that they are responsible for their personal belongings and the things they use.

“Let them feed themselves, some parents feed their children up to four years which is bad as they get used to being sorely dependent on someone else,” she says.

Assign them chores


Magarate Tumusiime, a counselor argues thus, “assign them chores in the house and let them learn to do it on their own. This will introduce them to different skills and tactics they can use to approach certain challenges.”

“An independent child is a responsible child. Let them wash their own clothes, lay their beds so that they grow up knowing they have themselves to depend on,” says Margaret.

Other chores could include sweeping, mopping, preparing lunch, organizing the dining table among others.

Let them fall

Margaret adds that some tasks will be hard for children but don’t be quick to help, be it a problem with friends at school, with chores or any other challenge.

“Allow them to find the different ways to fix the problem and only come in when you realize they have totally failed.  Giving them a chance to try will build self-confidence in them and allow them grow more independently,” she concludes.

Praise them

Asiimwe notes that everyone tends to do more when they are appreciated.  Praise your child when they accomplish a task. Give them positive affirmations that trigger them to go on.

On the other hand, critiquing their results fairly also provokes them to do better in case they fail or feel intimidated, these may include statements such as, “you have the capacity to even do more than that, you are a very brave child” among others.

Teach them to be resilient

Every independent person never backs off so easily, teach your child to be resilient in all that they do. Teach them to try until they get something right, to be patient and respect others.

Allow them to make their own decisions

Asiimwe says that independence starts from someone’s ability to make their own decisions. The only thing you can do as a parent is to guide them to make good decisions.

This starts from allowing them to decide on what cloth to wear and the intensity of decision making can increase as they grow.

However, note that when a child is allowed to be their own decision makers, they sometimes turn out to be big headed as they think no one should have a say in what they do.

A parent should be careful enough to differentiate between independence and rudeness

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