How to help your kids be more independent and self-sufficient.
I can’t say enough about how much I love this article! In our sessions with parents, we are always exploring ways for them to give their children more responsibilities, more independence, etc. In this modern world, it can be scary for a parent to let their child roam the world. It feels like there are so many more threats than when we were kids. It’s hard to give our kids chores because well, basically, they usually do it wrong, at least in the beginning!
I can remember growing up roaming the streets of my neighborhood, playing with whoever else happened to be outside, and then coming home when it started to get dark. I had no cell phone. I had no way to contact my parents if I got hurt or was hungry or too tired to walk home. I had to figure it out myself. Looking back, there were some incidents that I could have actually really benefited from having that phone! But most of the time, I survived.
Nowadays, we’re hesitant to let our child walk to school alone, or let them meet up at a park with a friend, unaccompanied. We’re eager to give them devices so that we may track them and keep an eye on them. Every parent gets to decide when it’s the right time to give a device, and that timeline varies child by child, family by family.
I’d like to make the argument that by delaying the use of a device, we are forcing our children to problem-solve and therefore increasing their sense of resiliency, self-sufficiency, and independence. Remember when you backpacked through Europe without GPS??!!
It’s going to be hard. The first time you let them walk/bike/scooter home from school by themselves. The first time you let them go to the movies with just friends. The firsts…all the firsts! But we can do it, as a community, as a tribe. The upside? When we increase their independence and engage our children in more tasks around the house, it eventually makes our jobs easier!
Here is a quick guide to age appropriate chores for neurotypical kids as we understand kids have different levels of abilities and needs (and we work with a lot of those kids!!) to get you started and don’t forget to check out the article below!