Fostering independence helps children to become aware of their abilities, to learn new skills, to practice patience and concentration, to experience a sense of achievement and to develop a positive self-esteem. Here are some useful tips to follow in both the school and home environment.
It is important to allow and encourage your child to:
- Dress themselves, including managing their own buttons and zips, and put their own socks and shoes on (Velcro or sandals are the easiest for them to cope with)
- Feed themselves (opening and closing containers as well as using cutlery independently is an important skill and helps with eye-hand coordination and fine motor strength)
- Manage their own clothing during their toilet routine (please remind them that they don’t have to remove their underwear and shorts completely)
- Turn the taps on and off by themselves (this develops coordination and helps them become more water conscious)
- Walk rather than being carried (besides being integral to gross motor development, this also helps them to separate more easily and enables them to become more emotionally mature)
- Carry their own school bags (this contributes towards core and upper body strength)
- Say goodbye at the classroom door to afford them the opportunity to unpack their bags or do their chores by themselves (opening and closing them zips involves important skills such as fine motor development, crossing the midline and bilateral integration)
Young children are very receptive to praise. Always remember to acknowledge your child’s efforts and attempts.
By Lumka Pillay and Jessica van de Merwe
Crawford International Pre-Primary North Coast