When I started out on the parenting journey over 2o years ago, I didn’t realize that my goal would be to train my children for independence. Now that my oldest is about to get married, I’m a little sad that I did such a good job.
Why Train for Independence?
As a young mother desiring my children to learn independence seemed like the natural thing to do. I couldn’t do everything for them all the time, so to keep my sanity I began to teach them. I really didn’t realize at first what I was doing. I was just trying to survive. So, I taught my 4 year old how to operate the microwave, wash dishes, and carry laundry to the laundry room. It seemed to work well… she was able to do far above what I expected from her and actually thought it was great fun to work like mommy. Boy, I had stumbled onto something!
Fast forward a few years, and jump into our homeschool life of learning with 6 children. It was hard for me to be there every minute trying to teach in the traditional style. (I learned real quick that didn’t work with 5 different grade levels.) I had to once again teach my children to be independent in their approach to learning. It worked great. Many years ago I began to print out a weekly check sheet for each of my children. On the check sheet were all the things that were required of them each day. They simply had to do it, and check it off. No need for mom to holler, or get frustrated (unless they just ignored the check sheet – which happens sometimes!)
Each child had an individual set of assignments that they completed each day. Still today they have online lessons, but complete their other work independently unless they have questions about the material or particular problems. Independence!!
We are now in the process of building a house. With six children, there are alot of things that they can help with. Again, we come to the foundational idea of teaching them “how” to do something which in turn will enable to them to work independently now and in the future.
Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime. Chinese Proverb
How to Train for Independence
- Teach your child HOW to do the desired task.
- Expect more from them than you think they can do… and they’ll surprise you!
- Treat them with respect and encourage them to think and act independently.
- Make sure to give them plenty of love!!