We all want our children to grow up independent. This means, letting our kids play outside and dressing up or brushing their teeth on their own. Wouldn’t it be so nice to prepare breakfast without having to keep checking on them to see if they’re ready for school?
Neurological research shows that it’s never too early to start grooming kids to be independent since the early period of development can influence the next stages of their development.
You don’t need to wait for their teenage years before teaching your kids how to be independent. Here are 9 practical parenting hacks for you to consider:
1. Use cupcake cases as Popsicle trays
I always take my boys out for some ice cream after baseball practice. And, without fail, this family tradition leaves the car all sticky from melted ice cream. To avoid this, you can use cupcake cases as mini Popsicle trays. Further, this will help them be cautious of their food and clean up the mess on their own.
2. Use toilet paper markers
A roll of toilet paper can easily go to waste in one pull. Teach your kids how much tissue paper they need, when it’s time to potty, by using wall markers. Now, you don’t need to be there with them to make sure they don’t end up using an entire roll.
3. Turn boxes into canvasses
Kids love to draw, and sometimes a blank wall could look like a blank canvass in their eyes. You can avoid having to wash the walls often by recycling an old box and letting their imagination run wild with it. You can even keep using the box until blank spaces run out.
4. Turn clean-up time into a game
Kids can sometimes detect chores, and all they want to do is have fun. Turn things around by making clean-up time a heart-pumping and fun game to get them excited about tidying up. I tell my boys to imagine the broom as a hockey stick and all the dust are pucks they need to shoot. They learned how to do house chores without feeling like it’s some kind of punishment.
5. Put stickers in shoes
Little ones can sometimes have a hard time differentiating left from right. Teach them how to wear shoes, on their own, using stickers. Just cut the sticker in half and place one in each shoe. They’ll be able to tell which is which easily by putting the image together.
6. Use old socks to practice grips
As a child learns to write, mastering how to grip a pen can be a challenge. By using an old sock, cut out two holes for the thumb and pointer finger, while the sock covers the rest of the fingers. This can help them practice writing using proper gripping.
7. Establish a routine
Help your child establish a routine by color-coordinating the clock for them. Just assign a color for each segment of their day, so they will be more aware of time management, as well as the hours of the day.
8. Add magnets on their cups for easy access
Playing outdoors is a great exercise for kids. Teach your children how to stay hydrated, on their own, by adding magnets on plastic cups and attaching them to the refrigerator. They’ll be able to grab a glass of water anytime.
9. Use egg cartons as card holders
Just like writing, board or card games can challenge a child’s grip control. Use an egg carton to help them hold a handful of cards.
Training your kids to grow up as independent adults depends on how you raise them. Let them explore the world and learn new things on their own. With just the right amount of guidance, you can help them develop the right skills to make a decision on their own.
No matter how young they are, it’s never too early to prepare them to think ahead and be self-sufficient!
Ericson Roberts is a staff writer for FeelGoodContacts. He enjoys taking his sons out for a game of catch, and transform ordinary parenting techniques into a fun-filled learning experience. They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, while for Ericson, the way to a child’s heart is having fun.