My number one tip starts at birth. Your child will depend on you for everything from day one. They need you for all their necessities, wants and just literally everything. By nurturing them from the moment they enter our world, your child will trust you and therefore know that the changes you are doing are safe.
Also, give praise and encouragement for any steps they take in your new journey. By letting them know you are proud of what they are doing, it will give them the security they need to continue with the change.
The number one thing parents must do for success is to make any new change positive to try and as fun as possible. This also means you yourself need to try and stay as positive and stress-free as you can. This can be tricky if your child is butting heads with you on changes. I like to think of it this way if you are at work having fun, it’s doesn’t seem like work right? So, if you are teaching your child to be more independent and it’s fun, they will also enjoy it. Now onto some specifics.
So it seems like in this day and age, everyone is in a hurry to get from point A to point B. They want to go fast and are rushing everywhere. Make sure you are taking extra time while helping your child gain some independence. Let’s say you have to go pay some bills in town and it’s winter time. I would set a jacket and boots in the entryway and tell your child it’s time to go buh bye. I would then ask him to put on his jacket and boots. Feel free to help them, but do not do it all for them. Some days this will go smoothly and they will be ready fairly quickly. Other times, they can’t get their arms in the right spots or the jacket is on upside down or even backward. As I stated earlier, make light of the situation as they are probably very frustrated. Let them know that because they are trying, you are proud of them. Allow them some time to calm down and give them assistance as needed. We have to remember that putting a jacket on for the first few times or your shoes on for a little person is a new and difficult change. It could be like someone sitting you down and telling you to finish an equation in geometry when you have never taken that class. We are their teachers.
On another note of independence, you might have a child who already has the mindset that they can conquer the world on their own and do not need anyone’s help, try not to get overwhelmed. Try to support their personality no matter how stubborn they may be. I have a child who has been like this since she was very little. I am talking a petite little girl who was walking like a pro at 9 months old. By one year she was trying to put on her own clothes and shoes. If we tried to help, she would throw a tantrum. We learned that her independence can actually be a godsend. She is three (going on 25) now and is such an amazing helper. We encouraged and guided her independence and it’s amazing how great she does now. She can grab her jacket, shoes, hat, mittens and put them on herself. She can help set the table, put food on the table and pretty much anything that my older children didn’t do until they were in grade school. So, embrace their personalities and let that light burn bright. They will always need you no matter what their age may be, but you are setting them up to succeed from a young age.
And whenever you get frustrated and want to quit, take a step back and breath. You got this! It’s ok to be frustrated and feel like you have no patience. You’re raising a human and it will have its great days and it’s not so great days, but remember that they love you more than anything in the world.