Trust is key
Autonomy means a lot more than simply growing up. It’s also having the self-confidence to do certain things and become independent, the ability to act and think for yourself. By becoming autonomous, and thus being more detached from his parents, the child develops as well his self-esteem by creating a stable and rich inner life that will help him prevent boredom and get rid of his dependence to others.
By helping your little one develop his autonomy, you are showing him that you trust him, and that you are proud of his accomplishments, It also means letting him exercise his freedom while protecting – but not overprotecting – him. Parents often tend to do things for their children in order to help them, to hurry things up, or because they are under the misconception that their child will not be able to accomplish the task alone. How many times have you tied your child’s shoelaces or hung up his coat in the closet without asking your child to do it? The most common reason given by parents is that it goes faster! It certainly does, but by doing everything yourself, you are not encouraging your child to take initiative. And most of all, you are discouraging him from trying little challenges that he could most likely handle.
His own little routine
Give your child little tasks to accomplish every morning: making his bed, brushing his teeth, getting dressed, etc. Remind him to do these tasks if he tends to forget, but let him to do it by himself.
"You can do this by yourself!"
Try using this little phrase instead of doing everything for your child. This key phrase can be very useful for moments such as: "Mom, draw me a dinosaur! ", "Open my juice box for me please! ", "Help me with my puzzle." etc. The idea is not to abandon your child to his activity but to show him that he’s capable of doing certain things without your help while still knowing you are close.
A cupboard, a broom and a duster just for him
To encourage your child to participate in household chores, arrange your home so he can more readily give you a hand. Keep a kitchen cabinet at his height in which where you’ll keep the children’s glasses, utensils, bowls and plates. Your child will thus be able to help you set the table, empty the dishwasher, prepare snacks, etc.
Are you constantly stressed with time? Do you worry about spills and messes? Learn to stay calm and allow your child to make his own experiences.
We love a challenge!
Every day, try to give your child a small challenge in order to stimulate his desire to try something new and certainly be proud of his accomplishment! In need of ideas? Ask him to pour himself a glass of milk without spilling it or to tie his shoelaces by himself, for example.
Encourage his ideas
Try not to interrupt your child’s creative drive or to systematically put down his ideas. Otherwise, he might be reluctant to take initiatives. Encourage your child to take small risks, to try new things or to change strategies. You are his guide to success. Failures should also be perceived as life lessons or as new challenges to overcome.
Teach your child to take responsibility!
Even though your child is young, it doesn’t mean that he can’t take responsibility for specific actions such as: feeding the pet, distributing the mail, cutting out coupons in weekly flyers, etc. You may consider these actions as chores, but your child will see them as a privilege and a sign of trust.
Certain attitudes can be detrimental to your child’s sense of autonomy:
- Overprotecting your child;
- Constantly repeating instructions;
- Constantly attending your child’s extracurricular activities;
- Constantly supervising your child’s group activities;
- Having difficulty letting your child work in his own fashion;
- Having a tendency to solve problems between your children;
- Worrying when your child is away from you.