The first step to creating an independent child is to stop doing everything for them. As soon as your baby is able to understand verbal directions, encourage them to put their toys away. Verbal directions and explanations help your child understand organizational skills and responsibility. Try using the following statements:
Create a bedroom environment that allows your child to accomplish tasks by themselves. Consider furniture size and placement. Also, establish a daily routine that includes tasks for your child to complete independently. Read on for some great bedroom ideas to encourage your child’s independence.
Choose Kid-Friendly Furniture
Furniture designed for the size and age of your child helps with the neatness and organization of their room. Dresser drawers and shelves need to be low enough for your child to reach easily. Lower closet rods so that your child can hang and retrieve their own clothing.
Placement of furniture is also important for your child to be able to be independent. It should be easy for your child to move around the room. Think about the best traffic pattern for ease in putting away clothes and toys. For example, locate the dresser close to the closet, with the clothes hamper in a convenient place for depositing dirty clothes. If your child’s hamper is all the way across the room, the clothes may not get there. Toys should be situated in the same area as toy storage, and books close to the reading or studying area.
Leave Your Child Alone
In order to create independence, you need to allow your child some alone time. Incorporate some time for your child to play alone in their room into their daily routine. A half an hour before or after dinner works well in many families. Encourage reading, crafts, or playing with toys instead of use of electronics. The social aspect of many computer applications negates the solitary time you are seeking for your child.
Give Your Child Tasks and Projects to Complete
Although you may think it is easier to monitor your child when they are doing homework or other tasks, it is important they learn to work alone. Be specific in verbal directions. Take the time to demonstrate how to complete task and projects.
Younger children benefit from having a larger task or project broken into small chunks. For example, if you tell them to clean their room, the task may see daunting. However, try telling them to pick up the clothes from their closet floor, hang them, and then come see you. Then you can assign another small task, perhaps taking empty hangers to the laundry room. As your child gets older and comfortable with verbal directions, you can make the assigned tasks more detailed. Eventually, all you will need to do is request they clean their room.
Establish a Routine
A daily routine that includes taking care of their bedroom will help your child achieve independence. Their bed does not need to be made perfectly, but teach them to take a few minutes to pull up the covers before they leave their room in the morning. Provide a clothes hamper or basket for dirty clothes. A pegged coat rack helps keep coats and jackets off the floor.
Teach your children to pick up their toys after playing. One family found it reasonable to announce when there was thirty minutes until dinnertime. All family members picked up and put away during this thirty-minutes. Another good time for your children to clean their rooms quickly is right before bedtime. Just make sure your routine includes daily bedroom straightening so that their mess does not become overwhelming.
One of the most important lessons you can teach your child is to be independent. Your child’s bedroom is their special space and is a perfect place to begin establishing habits and practices that lead to independent behavior. With a bit of planning and preparation, appropriate furniture, and a daily routine that includes taking care of their bedroom, your child will be on the way to thinking and behaving independently.