How to Encourage Independence in Your Child
Did you know that school, for the most part, is supposed to teach people how to think for themselves and learn on their own? While that may not be the case today because of our new methods of assessing students, it\’s important that you, the parent, and anyone else you involve in your child\’s life provide a space for learning.
The very best thing you can do for your child is to teach them to learn independently of you or anyone else, and to make them curious about finding answers to questions that they have.
Ask Questions Instead of Giving Answers
When your child asks you a question that is easily answerable by researching it, tell them to look it up. Or, ask questions that can help them logically find the answer themselves.
Don’t Micromanage Your Kids
When you’ve taught your kids something, let them do it their way. Stay out of it and don’t micromanage. For example, if you have put them in charge of cleaning the living room, after explaining what you expect the results to look like, let them clean it their way within a prescribed time.
Model the Behavior You Want to See
Let your kids observe you learning new things every day. Let them see you reading books.
Demonstrate to them the way you solve problems by doing it \”out loud,\” knowing they’re always watching you.
Know Your Child’s Learning Style
Not only should you know your child’s learning style, but your child should know their style as well. When people understand and accept their own personalities and how they learn best, it helps them realize they can, given time, learn whatever it is they want to learn.
Expose Your Child to New Things and Experiences
Letting your child travel with you and learn about other cultures, learn new things, and gain new experiences, is a good way of opening the world up to them. Show them that if they want to learn how to grow a food garden that will last 1000 years, they can. It starts with the first book or website.
Help Your Child Learn to Make SMART Goals
One thing that is often missing in a child’s upbringing is the intentional teaching of setting goals. Even if you are good at setting goals, showing your child that process is going to make a big difference in their life as an independent learner.
Show Your Child the Resources That Exist
Your child may not even know about the resources available today to someone who wants to learn something. There are so many online ways to learn for free today that anything you want to learn, you can (within reason). It’s often joked that you can learn brain surgery on YouTube, but I wouldn\’t encourage that. (smile)
Children who become independent, lifelong learners tend to have better academic performance, increased confidence, boosted motivation, and get more opportunities.