There are a lot of things children need to be able to do independently by kindergarten: they need to know how to sit and listen, raise their hands to answer questions, open snack boxes, zip lunch boxes closed, and follow directions. They are also expected to learn the names of classmates, teachers, and other adults, and to remember the layout of the school. It’s a lot for you a child to remember!
Because of this, I find that knowing how to ask for help and how to offer help is one of the keys to teaching kids independence! Knowing who and how to ask for help when school life gets confusing will help kindergarteners navigate early months – and I find that the benefits cross over at home with calmer, kinder, and more polite children! Teaching children to reach out and empathetically help classmates who are struggling is a wonderful way to help them find friends who will be kind and loyal to them. I LOVE hearing that classmates have helped out my daughter by teaching her how to play soccer on the playground or showing her how to get back to her classroom when she got lost in the hallways. I hope my son can have similar experiences!
Here are some things I do to teach my kids how to ask for and offer help:
- Teach them how to ask politely for things they need and help at home
- Thank them for asking politely without prompting
- Offer opportunities for them to help siblings (as a bonus, I feel this promotes sibling closeness)
- Praise them for helping siblings without being prompted to do so
- When they have a problem, wait to jump in and and help to see if they can figure out a way to ask for help or solve the problem on their own
Of course, there are basic independence skills I am teaching my kids as well, but asking and offering help will cover the items and circumstances I forget or fail to predict!
How do you teach your kids independence?
This post is the third of eight in the Get Ready for K Through Play series I am working on with Bernadette of Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Megan at Coffee Cups and Crayons, Vicky at Mess for Less, Cerys at Rainy Day Mum, and Kristina at Toddler Approved. Be sure to check out their posts as well:
- Everyday Ways to Foster Independence from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
- Practicing Independence from Mess for Less
- Transition Time: Teaching Kids to Successfully Move From One Activity to Another from Toddler Approved
- 3 Independent Skills Your Child Needs for Kindergarten from Coffee Cups and Crayons
- Getting Out the Door from Rainy Day Mum
Drop by our Get Ready for K Through Play Pinterest board for more ideas!