Let Small Children Do Things On Their Own
Have you ever wondered why it is important for young children to do things on their own? If you haven’t already done so, it’s a good time to learn about this issue, as it’s directly related to the teaching of autonomy.
Many parents argue that it’s inappropriate to let their children do things on their own out of fear that they’ll get hurt or frustrated. However, this is normal and necessary during childhood, as it teaches them that life is full of conflicting feelings and emotions.
Furthermore, young children are independent and autonomous people, who have the right to grow, experiment, and develop in freedom. This doesn’t mean that parents should withdraw from their role, quite the opposite. They must provide the conditions for their little ones to explore the world in safe and contained conditions. Likewise, always accompany them with respect and love.
The benefits of fostering autonomy in children
Giving children the possibility to do things alone is nothing more than accompanying them in the development of independence.
In practical terms, autonomy carries numerous benefits in the psychological development of infants. Next, we’ll tell you all the learning that they acquire from this:
- They learn to stand up for themselves, which affects their sense of self-confidence and self-esteem.
- They experience the trouble of “not being able” to do something, and this encourages them to try again. At the same time, they learn to develop a tolerance for frustration.
- They become aware of the sense of effort and responsibility: They understand that there are achievements that are achieved with hard work and that all actions have their consequences.
- They recognize their abilities and unfold their potential. Preventing them from doing things for themselves or overprotecting them leaves them defenseless for real life. In addition, it makes them dependent and fearful.
- They begin to make decisions for themselves.
- They acquire tools to face any adversity.
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How to help children to do things on their own
Autonomy isn’t achieved overnight but is exercised every day in the right conditions.
For this reason, adults must adjust the context so that their little ones can have their own experiences freely.
It’s important to note that what works for some children may not work for others. Therefore, knowing our children is key and we must take into account their fears, their feelings, and how they express their emotions.
Therefore, today we’re going to share some practical tips to promote your child’s autonomy. Take note!
Think of transition situations
Before your child stays to sleep over at their grandmother’s house, you need to think of a plan so that they’ll stay more hours alone in this place.
This way, you allow them to discover their emotions in this scenario and at the same time develop strategies to channel the anguish in a healthy way.
Ask how they feel
No matter how much initiative the child has had in organizing a plan, it’s important to monitor how they feel during the experience and to accompany the management of their emotions.
Like adults, children can change their minds or things can turn out very differently from what they imagined.
It’s also important to convey to our children that it’s okay to repent and that we’re not going to get angry about it. They can always turn to us when they don’t feel comfortable with something.
Don’t pressure your children
Many times, we get carried away by our own desires or anxieties and we speed up the timing of others. But you need to understand that each child has their own rhythm and that there are certain achievements that are reached with age.
Guide and explain
In order for children to do things for themselves, they need some information and guidance. This doesn’t mean that we should impose ourselves on their way of doing certain activities, but rather guide them to experiment in a safe way.
You don’t let a child cross the street without first telling him that they have to watch the traffic light or look both ways. So, the instructions should be clear and simple, adapted to their level of understanding.
Encourage and reinforce them
In both successes and failures, it’s important to motivate, support, and encourage children. Acknowledging their achievements and congratulating them is good, but you also need to teach them to enjoy the process no matter what the results may be.
The role of the adult is to accompany and regulate
When faced with the question of whether children should do things on their own, the answer is yes. It’s important that we give them a space where they can put themselves to the test, as safety and autonomy develop over time and with practice.
It’s worth remembering that when processes are accelerated more than necessary, some shortcomings or difficulties may appear in the future. A very rigid adult can raise a dependent child, while an overly detached parent can lead to an insecure child.
In any case, the most convenient thing is to offer experiences with an increasing degree of autonomy: First allowing them to choose their own clothes or put away the toys they use and then go to the bakery alone.
To close, we must bear in mind that the role of adults is to accompany and regulate. It’s about respecting the timing of each child, without being carried away by our own expectations or by our own fears. For this, we need to reflect on our own actions, as this aspect is key for the upbringing and education of our little ones.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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- Jorge, E. & González, C. (2017). Estilos de crianza parental: una revisión teórica. Informes Psicológicos, 17(2), pp. 39-66 Disponible en: http://dx.doi.org/10.18566/infpsic.v17n2a02
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RESPONSABILIDAD DE LOS NIÑOS/AS. XII Congreso internacional de teoría de la educación. Universidad de Barcelona. Disponible en: https://extension.uned.es/archivos_publicos/webex_actividades/5385/repercusiones8.pdf