Parents around the world know what it is like to coddle their children, it’s our duty as a parent to protect them at any age. However, it is also our responsibility to prepare them for the world outside of us. We don’t have to throw them into the world right away. There are ways for us to slowly let go.
Here are 7 ways to give your child more independence
1) Talk To Them about Safety.
One of the best ways to help your child gain independence is to have a huge talk about safety. From not talking to strangers to looking both ways before crossing the street. Stress the importance of safety. Share stories about a time you weren’t so careful and the consequences of it. That will help ease them into a role of being self aware and responsible.
2) Have Them Memorize Important Numbers.
Kids 5 and up are ready to learn easy numbers. If they are not in your presence, have them at least know to dial 911 in case of an emergency. As they get older, they will be able memorize more numbers such as your house number, cell number and other personal contacts. If they have a cellphone save emergency numbers and be sure to add an “in case of emergency” in their contact list for someone else to find in the event that they are unable to call themselves.
3) Take Small Steps.
Give them a chance to prove they can handle small things. Let them lead the way when crossing the street. If they are old enough to walk home from school, start with a halfway mark. You can have them walking a certain amount of miles alone and you can meet them around the corner from the school until you are ready to let them walk all the way home. The point is you can make small steps and let them earn your trust to do more.
4) Earn Trust.
When your child is ready to fly, you have to talk to them about the importance of trust and communication as well as the consequences of breaking trust. They have to always ask permission before they go anywhere. Your child has to show that they are able to follow simple directions. Let them know to communicate about anything they do not understand. This is for the older kids who want to go to friends house after school or go to the mall.
5) Get To Know Your Kids Friends and Parents
For the kids who are ready for a sleepover, this is a good time to know who their friends are. Familiarize yourself with the friends and their parents as well. It is good to have a community of parents who are have similar views of parenting and safety. Part of them gaining independence is for you to know who they spend their time with when you are not around.
6) Set Boundaries
Your child should tell you where they are going, and you set the tone for how long they are gone. Talk to them about respecting others and being polite when you are not around. If they have a curfew, make sure they are abiding by it. There are consequences if they are not honoring your request.
7) Reign It In
If your child is not following the rules or not being careful, then it is time to reign it in. Your child has to know that part of being independent comes responsibility. If they are showing signs that they are not ready to gain full independence, then you have to hold them responsible. It will show them how to know right from wrong.
Written by Keke Waldon, Staff Writer, Modern Domestic