What is independence for children? Independence for a child is them finding the confidence to try doing new things or things within everyday life. It could be something simple within the child’s life. For example, taking the initial big step in doing something for themselves. It may be putting their lunch box into their school bag by themselves. It may be clearing up after play time. Independence is something that is passed from a parent/guardian to a child. It may be passed from another adult such as grandparents, family, early years practitioner or teacher. Independence is important for child development. Personally to me independence is an important aspect of early childhood and for the child themselves is an important step. The child doing things for themselves makes the child feel confidence, proud, patience, self-help, independence and self-reliance. It is also important for a young child’s social skills. This may include making choices. For example, which snack would you like? or what activity would you like to do? The adult should ensure the task has simple steps and instructions. For instance, before lunch can you set the table first? The child should always gain praise for any task and independent tasks they do by themselves. For example, well done for putting the blocks away. For the incoming service and school year small tasks for children to gain independence are listed below; They are life skills that are importance for a child’s independence
Independence Activities and tasks
- The child putting their toys away after playtime.
- The child setting the table. It may include cleaning the table before snack or lunch and putting the cutlery out.
- Washing hands before meals and after activities such as outdoor play or sand play etc.
- Enabling the child to be an independent thinker and have own opinions. For example, enabling the child to express their own opinion on things happening such as news or areas important to them.
- Enabling the child to have independence in choosing what they want to do. This may include activities, movies, foods, books or tasks.
- The child putting their lunch into their bag pack in the morning by themselves. The child could also be involved in lunch making such as putting the butter and ham on their bread. The child could also pack what they need for the day. For example, outdoor gear, coat, pencil case etc.
- Opened ended play. This may include planning activities or in activities such as blocks, lego or loose part play choosing what they would like to dp. Using their independence skills.
- Independence such as choosing their own favourite story at bedtime.
- The child choosing which paint colours they would like to use to paint their picture.
- Children picking their own outfit for the day and dressing.
- The child learning to put their shoes on correctly. This may include labelling the shoes R and L or arrows pointing to each other on the shoes. If pointing away from each other not on the right foot.
- The child learning to put their coat on using the backwards trick. This includes the hood of the coat facing the child. The child puts their arms into the coat and flips the coat over their head. The child has put their own coat on.
- The child opening and closing their own lunchbox and drinking bottles.
- The child putting tooth paste on their tooth brush.
- The child brushing their own hair.
- The child may have a pet such as a dog or cat. It may include filling the water bowl with water or brushing the animal.
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”