Nurturing independence is a huge piece of getting kids ready for kindergarten – one I find especially important for my wonderful little velcro kids! Here are three things I do to nurture independence: I give my children lots of opportunities to try things out on their own, encourage them to help others, and provide safe spaces for self-expression.
Nurturing Independence in the Kitchen
The kitchen is a wonderful space for kids to practice being more independent! My kids practice being independent by helping us cook dinner, bake desserts, making applesauce, and making lemonade. They also practice independence by clearing their dishes from the table, loading and unloading the dishwasher, and washing dishes! They are always so pleased with the meals they help to make, and the measuring you need to do in the kitchen is great math practice!
Nurture Independence by Helping Others
Helping others is probably the way in which I see my kids gaining the most independence! Lily is often at her happiest when she is helping – whether that help is walking Anna down the stairs, helping Johnny clean up the LEGO bricks, or making her baby cousin smile. Lily is also bravest when she is helping! The other week, she proudly walked her two older siblings across a crowded room to pick up some papers they wanted, but were reluctant to get on their own! I suspect that, if Lily had been the one lacking bravery that day, both Emma and Johnny would have found the courage needed to walk her across that same room – but she felt pretty independent and important leading them across that busy room!
Nurture Independence through Artistic Expression
Lily has ALWAYS had her own way of doing things, and I love giving her free reign on our craft projects and seeing where she goes! In the painting above, she was exploring color mixing. Lily continues to “write” complex stories in an illegible scrawl, although she has pretty good handwriting when she decides to write in letters that everyone can read. I am sure that someday she will outgrow this. I look forward to seeing her write stories that I can read, but I will also miss the days when a series of loops represented incredibly complex plots.
School tasks can sometimes feel very prescriptive out of necessity – a teacher cannot always allow an entire classroom to do the same things that are possible at home. Making home a space where children have room to be as creative as they like will help them develop and maintain their own sense of self.
This post is the second in this year’s Get Ready for Kindergarten Through Play series! Here are some great ideas from my co-hosts for this series, and clicking on the button above will take you to the links from my blog for both last year and this year!
- Transitions to Independence for Kids from Mess for Less
- Preparing for School from Rainy Day Mum
- Teach Independent Skills for Kindergarten from Coffee Cups and Crayons
- Knife and Fork Skills for Preschoolers from Here Come the Girls
- Foster a Child’s Independence with Chores at Home from Mom to 2 Posh lil Divas
How do you nurture independence in your children?