Encouraging Independence

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Faye Martnick

Preschools Administrator

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Tina Johnson

Lake Forest - Preschool Director

All parents have heard the words. “I can do it” from their preschoolers.  Believing those words when your preschooler says them is important.  We underestimate their abilities and deprive them of acquiring skills and gaining self-confidence.  Even when the task is a little beyond their capabilities, let them try. If the result is not what they wanted to do, they will usually ask for help.   Make positive comments, guiding them gently to accomplish the goal.

  • Give your preschoolers tasks which are age-appropriate.  Be sure the task is real and they will feel like part of the family, doing their part to help.  When you set the bar high, preschoolers will strive to reach beyond what you expect.  Do not re-do or improve the job they have done.  Simply praise the effort and the accomplishment.

  • Many times, it is easier to just do a task yourself.  However, you are depriving your preschoolers of gaining skills and the feeling of accomplishment and pride.

  • The best words are: “Do you want me to help you or can you do it yourself?”

  • When you allow your preschoolers to solve simple problems on their own without rushing in to help, those are character-building moments. 

  • Preschool teachers often use songs to get children to complete a task.  The cleanup song is very successful when it is time to put toys away.  You can make a song for any task.  Simply begin singing and your preschooler will most likely join in and do the task.

  • Avoid using “if” statements.  Instead of saying, “If you pick up your toys, we will go for a walk”, simply say, “When you pick up your toys, we will go for a walk”.  You are now showing you expect cooperation.

  • Allow your preschoolers to just play, not providing structured activities or entertaining them constantly.

  • If your preschoolers are squabbling with, simply stand back and see if they can work it out.  Of course, if it escalates too much, you will need to step in.