Foster a Spirit of Independence in Children
Updated: Mar 25
Hello dear friends. It’s the first of July and Independence Day is just around the corner for all of us in the USA. As we look back on our country’s history and commemorate the time our baby country declared its independence from the it’s mother land, one can’t help but think of how we adults watch children struggle to become more independent themselves. It’s a process that begins even at the toddler stage, when suddenly the child pushes the adult away and declares, “No, I do it!” even if they aren’t quite ready at that moment to take on that task. As adults we try to protect them from making mistakes or hurting themselves and kids just want to be self-sufficient and do things their way. But as frustrating as this can be for both the adults and the children, we need to recognize that it’s only natural for them to want to be more independent, and to want to figure things out on their own. As a teacher, I had to learn this as well. Sometimes children would be reading and get stuck on a word, or they would start a math problem and then stare at it for a little while. Instead of being more patient, I would tell them the word or how to solve the problem. However, with some more experience, I learned to give them a little more time to figure it out on their own. Even if they initially read the word wrong, once they read the rest of the sentence, they usually figured it out and went back to try it again. If they got the wrong answer on the math problem, I would encourage them to take another look at it, instead of just solving it for them. We need to practice giving them more time to figure out these problems on their own. When they are truly stuck, the children will usually turn and look to us for help, knowing that we are there to support them. Whenever possible, try to foster their spirit of independence so they can become adults who aren’t intimidated or fearful to try new things and stand on their own.