Avoid a Failure to Launch: Teach Your Child Independence Now

It’s natural to want your child to stay young forever. Their early years are some of the most precious, and every parent cherishes those memories. However, your child growing up is a natural part of life. Your role as a parent is to help them grow up safely, avoiding the many ways it can go wrong. It’s important that you prepare them to live a full and independent life now. But how do you do that?

Avoid a Failure to Launch: Teach Your Child Independence Now

When thinking of independence, it’s important to keep in mind that humans are social creatures. An independent person is one who can provide for themselves and their community. It is someone who does their best to help themselves, and asks for and gives help when necessary. One of the key ways to raise your kid to be independent is to introduce responsibility into their life. Here are a few ways to help prepare your child to be responsible and independent.

Introduce Safe Technology

Now, more than ever, technology is woven into the very fabric of society and daily life. This pattern will only continue as the years roll on and the distinguishability of technology from the analog world decreases. Thus, it’s increasingly important to help your child learn to navigate this world and achieve independence one day.

Many parents get their kids a tablet or smartphone. However, most children aren’t prepared for this level of responsibility, and the parents’ trust is misplaced. These kinds of technology, especially the software available on them, are designed to be addicting. And if adults are susceptible to this kind of addiction, then a child’s developing brain is even more so.

Thankfully, these days, some companies are addressing this ethical and social dilemma by developing smart tech specifically designed for kids. A kids phone is one example of this new smart tech. They limit your child’s access to the internet, social media, and unrestricted gaming. Simultaneously, they provide your kid with a sense of responsibility through ownership. This sense of ownership will also give them a sense of agency in the world.

Introduce Chores

There is a concrete form of both individual and social responsibility that every independent adult undertakes — a job. It is through the exchange of labor, physical or mental, for monetary compensation that makes the capital world go ‘round. Now, it is unclear what the work world will look like in a decade or more. What is clear is that your child will participate in it, and they should be as prepared as possible.

Giving your child a chore or series of chores is a classic, tried-and-true method of providing them with ongoing responsibility. Chores mimic what it’s like to have a job, without the same level of severity. When giving your child chores, consider a mix of individual and social responsibilities. For example, making their bed every morning and cleaning their room is a task that will benefit them individually. Tasks such as vacuuming the living room, taking out the garbage, and doing the dishes, however, benefit the whole family.

One of the best parts of this form of responsibility is that it benefits you as well. With your child lending you a hand around the house, they may also be making your life easier. Just like a job, though, make sure to compensate your children for their hard work. This compensation can take the form of screen time, playdates, allowance, or anything else your child values. The work and reward loop will reinforce your child's feeling of responsibility and agency, guiding them toward an independent life.

Introduce Healthy Choices

Part of aging responsibly is making sure you consider physical necessities as well. Your physical health affects everything about your life, from your daily energy to the quality of your decision-making. Ensuring your child grows up to lead an independent life involves teaching them how to properly care for their body. The three main pillars of good physical health are diet, exercise, and sleep.

Cooking is a skill set that, eventually, your child will use almost every day of their life. Ask them to help you prepare dinner once or twice a week. They can do simple tasks like measuring ingredients or stirring a pot. And if you yourself don’t know how to cook, don't worry — it’s an opportunity for you to learn together!

Now, naturally, kids expend tons of energy just by playing. One of the great joys of childhood is simply moving in fun and creative ways. But as your child ages, it’s important that they know how to take care of their body. By establishing a light exercise routine as children, they will more likely continue the habit into adolescence and beyond.

Finally, it’s important to make sure your kids maintain a regular sleep schedule. Kids often want to stay up later than their bedtime. Help them understand why good, regular sleep is important and how hard it can be to get as an adult. Create a bedtime routine that starts at the same time every night. By establishing these three pillars of health early in life, you’ll build a strong foundation for your child’s future independence.

Trust Them

It may be difficult to trust your child with new responsibilities. Responsibilities bring with them inherent risk, some more than others. But life will ask many difficult things of your child, so it's important to start preparing them now. Trust them, and you may be amazed by how quickly they will start to develop their sense of self.



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