6 Ways to Teach Your Child to Be More Independent


Children are continually learning and improving their abilities. With time, they’ll learn to become more independent. Fostering independence at a young age is essential for self-sufficiency and will shape the person they grow up to be as an adult.

As a parent, you’ll need to guide them to get there. Here are six ways to teach your child to be more independent.

Identify an opportunity

Opportunities to teach your child independence are everywhere.

Make a list of things they are working towards. This should be your focus. Younger toddlers may be working towards going to the toilet, brushing their teeth, or pouring a glass of water.

As they get older, children may work towards tying their shoelaces, making their bed, or even making themselves a sandwich.

For school-aged children, store healthy snacks in a cupboard within their reach. Encourage them to help themselves after school, which gives you time to do your own thing.

Let them choose

Children must make many choices as they get older, so start them young. Making their own choices plays a large part in independence.

A multitude of choices may overwhelm a young child, so narrow down the options. Get them to choose from two or three alternatives. Start by asking them what flavor ice cream they’d like or what they’d like to wear for the day. As they get older, you can give them the responsibility of choosing an activity or an afterschool program.

Be a good teacher

You’ll be surprised at how much kids pick up from the things you say or do. Children also have great willpower to learn new things. Learning from a great teacher will make their experience more worthwhile.

Most children learn by doing, so demonstrate how to do each task. Choose a new job for them to master each week. As their skills improve, provide less assistance until they can complete the task on their own. Once they have learned a new skill, you’ll see your little one beam with confidence.

Praise good work

Not just children, but everyone likes to know their efforts are appreciated. Offer positive reinforcement when you can see they are working hard and putting in the effort to learn a new skill. 

As they get older, offer a rewards system. Have a chart of their chores in their room. Add a sticker each time they complete chores on their own. This could include making their bed, packing their school bag, or brushing their teeth.

Get creative

Independence doesn’t have to be taught as school-style lessons. Find creative ways for your children to learn independence.

Incorporate ‘lessons’ into activities they enjoy. If gardening interests your child, let them choose their plants and teach them how to look after them. If your child starts ballet class, let them pick out a color for their scrunchie or outfit.

You can also turn chores into lessons of independence. Accessible shelving for their toys will allow them to put their toys back on their own and develop organisational skills at the same time. 

Have patience

It can be easy to spoon-feed your child and help them with every step. When learning new skills, it’s vital to take a step back and watch them conquer it on their own.

Children have not yet developed the coordination and cognition that you have. It may take some time for them to learn a new task. Be sure to be patient around them if this happens. 

When instructing them, use positive words. Instead of saying “no, not like that,” opt for “how about we try it this way?” or “let’s see if we can work this out together.” Practice makes perfect, so give them time to practice.

Watching your child grow as a person is a rewarding experience. You’ll be with them on their journey to mastering new skills, developing their personality and embracing independence. It’s never too early to start!


Harper Reid

Creative writer Harper has a deep passion for writing and has enjoyed producing articles for multiple sites and blogs. Check out Harper’s published pieces on her personal blog.



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