One of our main goals as parents is to raise our children to be independent and self-sufficient. However, sometimes we get a little lost and in our eagerness to give them everything, we give them few tools to do so, since we continually take care of ourselves to solve their demands and to carry out tasks that they could do as they grow.
As a consequence, we have children who ask for help with everything. They prefer not to strain and let their parents do everything for them. Faced with these types of attitudes, we must establish a series of strategies that manage to change their behavior.
It is true that a large part of the way you behave depends on the character and temperament of each child. While some people insist on eating alone after one or two years, taking the spoon themselves and crying if it is not allowed, there are others who, on the contrary, resist doing so and find themselves very comfortable at five or six years just waiting. let the soup spoon reach them. These children, if allowed, will follow this pattern not only when eating, but will be asking for help getting out of bed, bathing, brushing teeth, dressing, combing their hair, doing homework, and anything else that represents an effort and not a fun.
Regardless of whether our son is the style "I do it myself" or "Help me if I don't"How parents respond to them will largely determine what comes next.
Here are some strategies to motivate independent children to remain independent, and children who ask for help all the time to be more autonomous.
1. Let your child try new things
Around the year and a half, children begin to imitate many of the daily actions that adults do such as combing their hair, eating alone, drinking from a glass, etc. If you discover your child for the first time wanting to do some homework, don't stop him. For example, make his bed (even if he can only accommodate a pillow), do not tell him that it is too small and do it yourself; help him and let him feel like he did it right. Encourage him to keep doing it when possible. It is up to us to increase their desire to be independent or to make them stop trying.
2. If he can do it, let him do it
Don't solve all their problems or respond to all their demands. If he asks for your help with something that you know he can accomplish alone, tell him to keep trying; He is likely to get frustrated and cry, but still explain that if you help him he will never learn and that doing something well requires a lot of practice. Getting frustrated is part of life and if we don't give them that possibility, we will be really making it difficult for them.
3. Teach him that everything takes time
Take your time in daily routines to allow that, even if it takes a long time to do certain things, such as eating or dressing, you can achieve it alone or with the least help depending on your age. Stay close and support them, but the sense of autonomy that comes from performing some essential tasks alone will be very important for many other things to come.
4. Give him a responsibility
From the age of three you can give your child a responsibility at home; something to take care of that makes you feel important like watering the plants, feeding the fish, putting up the tablecloths, etc. Help him remember it and you will soon see that it has become something he enjoys doing. From time to time you can change your responsibility for a new one. The important thing is that he knows that he is capable of doing something valuable and that he begins to understand the concept of responsibility.
5. Let him be independent on a daily basis
Take advantage of everyday situations to promote their independence. For example, if they are in the supermarket, ask them to go for the milk or the bread (of course, you wait for it without losing eye contact with it). If they are older you can ask them to be the ones who order those products in which there is interaction with the employees. If they can't find a product, ask them to ask the employee in which aisle they find it. This will enhance your safety and your interactions with people.
6. Help him with homework, but don't do it to him
Stay close when he does his homework, but don't do it for him. It is important that you support him when he really needs it, but resist the temptation to do a flat or project for him. Homework is for them, they shouldn't be perfect either. If you do it for him, it will be difficult for him to think the next time that he can do it well alone.
7. Encourage your ability to make decisions
If on the one hand we want independent and autonomous children and on the other we make them think that they are not capable of deciding anything, we will be sending them a contradictory message. In all those things that is possible, let him choose. For example, let him choose between two wardrobe options the one he prefers, let him choose in a restaurant between the options that you consider appropriate and allow him to be the one to tell the waiter what he has chosen.
8. Help him solve problems
Every time you see that he is getting frustrated over something he cannot do, or that he is getting into conflict over an issue with his siblings. Ask him to think about what other ways he can solve the situation. At first he will need your help to do it, but then he will surprise you with some great idea.
In this matter it is essential to maintain patience and objectivity, always taking care not to give double messages that confuse you. If you do, you can definitely enjoy the process as much as he does.
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