Habitot Children's Museum

FALL-WINTER HOURS
October 1- March 31
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30

SPRING-SUMMER HOURS
April 1 - September 30
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun

9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
Private Rentals Only

THIS MONTH'S SPONSOR
State Farm Insurance
Berkeley Agent, Gary Eason
http://garyeason.net/



Top-Rated Nonprofits 2011 logo

Best of 2011 Parents' Press logo

Blue Star Museums logo

Best of the Gay
San Francisco Bay Area



find us on facebook

donate now

Habitot is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization that relies on community support



Habitot Children's Museum Logo

Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 647-1111
www.habitot.org


Q. What are the secrets to raising confident, independent children?
Raising confident, independent children isn’t always easy. As parents, it can be hard to find the right balance between our natural instincts to protect our children and hold them close and our desires to raise children who become self-sufficient adults who make good choices and are able to handle life’s many challenges on their own. Parenting your children is often influenced by how you were parented, your cultural background, your own values and life experiences as well as your partners,’ which just adds to the complexity.

We all want children who will grow up to know themselves, who will choose safe behaviors over risky ones, who will choose jobs and careers and partners which are life-affirming. We can’t make those things happen by doing too much for our children, by limiting their choices, by controlling their activities, or subtly or overtly defining their paths in life. Independence will develop in children who are allowed, within an ever-expanding frame of reasonableness, to make choices, have freedom, take responsibility and lead their lives.

As parents, we must occasionally grit our teeth while our children make offbeat, or even somewhat risky choices. Better to trip and fall, make mistakes, have regrets over bad choices when young, so that the learning happens with a loving family around as back-up.

Your child’s independence will be cultivated through hundreds of small moments when you allow her autonomy and she is able to learn something of her power, will, decision-making ability and consequences of her choices.

Here are some tips on cultivating independence in your child:


  • Give you child a lot of time for free play. Letting your child to decide how and what to play will sharpen her creativity and support development of self-efficacy. Daily independence in play leads to independence in other areas of life. If your child has scheduled enrichment classes, lessons and story times, make sure your child also has time every day for unstructured play. These are the times a child begins to know who they are, what their real interests are, and what makes them happy.

  • Let your child get frustrated. If you pick up your child every time he falls or help out when he can’t figure out how to fit a square peg in a round hole, you are nurturing dependence. It can be hard to watch your child struggle but allowing frustration gives the her opportunity to keep trying, the chance to learn on her own and to enjoy the feeling of triumph when she finally succeeds.

  • Let go of perfectionism. Also important is letting go of having things be perfect with a young child. Your child’s efforts to dress himself, draw a picture or carry something to the table are not going to be perfect, and accidents will occur. Resist the urge to fix everything your child does, or be impatient if it’s not a perfect job. And if accidents do happen, talk about why and what could be done better next time. Leave your child with the feeling that he can (eventually), not that he can’t.

  • Encourage decision-making and problem solving. Give your child the freedom to choose between acceptable choices. Fear of criticism or failure disappears when either choice is acceptable. Gradually extend the range of choices as your child becomes more confident, and use dialogue to help your child think through her choices. With a 2-year-old you may want to let her choose between 2 long-sleeved shirts, but with your 3-year-old you could ask, “It’s cold outside today; do you think you will be more comfortable outside in short sleeves or long sleeves?” Children learn problem solving by solving problems.

  • Encourage self-reliance. Teaching your child to clean a room, to make a bed, to fold or hang clothes requires time and effort. However, these responsibilities produce confidence and independence, and will pay off for you as your child gets older and starts doing it without your help. Your child should be praised for efforts made and for the process of completing the task rather than for the final result only. Always gear your expectations to your child's age and level of development.

  • Treat your child as someone you can count on. This attitude is the one to cultivate in yourself as your child grows older. Your attitude toward your child will speak volumes. Have respect for your child’s abilities and what he or she can contribute to the family. Put your child “in charge” of tasks and really let go of control – most children prepared from a young age to be independent and confident will rise to the challenge and feel really good about themselves because you trust them.
 
Resources:

Flying Solo: Raise an Independent Kid. Michael Thomspon, Ph.D. Parents Magazine. http://www.parents.com/kids/responsibility/teaching/raise-independent-child/

Cultivate Your Kid's Independence. Alice Bumgarner. Education.com
http:// www.education.com/magazine/article/Ed_Organizing_Your_Home/

Everyday ways to foster independence in kids. Tsh. Simple Living Media.
http:// simplemom.net/fostering-independence-in-kids/

 
copyright© 2013 Habitot Children's Museum