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April 24, 2024

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How to Help Your Child Become Independent at Home

There are simple things you can do at home to help give your little one a greater sense of independence and responsibility as he grows.

“Help, Mommy! I can’t reach the sink!”

It's something most moms hear on a daily basis. Your child is trying to brush his teeth, get a drink of water or anything else he should be able to do on his own if only he was tall enough. Make sure the little ones in your life can access all the things they need to help them grow into responsible, independent children.

Add a Step Stool

This item should be the most common tool in your house if you have small children. There should be one in several places of your home.

Having a step stool in the bathroom allows your child to reach the sink in order to wash his hands after using the toilet as well as brushing his teeth. You don't need to fix his toothbrush for him when he has the opportunity to reach everything, and he'll feel a great sense of accomplishment and independence being able to do it all by himself.

In the kitchen, a step stool is most handy for your child to reach the sink and to help prepare meals. When you involve your child in the process of making a meal, he will be more excited to eat it.

One place in the home you may not have thought to have a step stool is in your child’s bedroom. Sometimes clothes hanging in the closet are up too high. Your child should be able to help pick out his own clothes and dress himself. If his clothes are not within his reach, it will be hard for him to resist the urge to tug and pull on them until the article of clothing pops off the hanger, possibly resulting in damage to the clothing.

Having a step stool around the house can help teach your child he does not always have to call on Mom or Dad to get the littlest of things. However, you must teach him from the beginning that a stepstool is not a toy and should not be used to reach things he is not supposed to have.

Put Things in Reach

There are some items around the house that your child should be able to reach without a stepstool. If you have plenty of cabinet space in your kitchen, designate one as your kid's cabinet. This cabinet can hold all the utensils a child needs when it’s time to eat or have a snack — little plastic cups, plates, silverware, etc. When it’s time to eat, he can help set his place at the table. Or, whenever he is thirsty, he can get a cup and reach the sink (via the aforementioned stepstool) to get a drink of water on his own. This little change in your home will help him feel more independent and helpful.

You can also consider adding a closet fixture that allows things to be lower and within reach for little kids. Some closet organizers allow you to hang clothing lower than the standard bar. This fixture can also eliminate the need for a stepstool in his room as the clothes will be within his reach.

Kitchen Gadgets for Kids

Large utensils are hard for little hands to hold, so invest in ones made specifically for kids, including child-sized potato smashers, ladles, spatulas, etc. Having something for him to use to help make a meal also helps with his growing independence. Child-sized utensils come in festive colors and patterns, which makes kitchen activities even more fun for kids.

Put Healthy Snacks on the Counter

If your child is in a growth spurt, he's going to be hungry … a lot! Steer him away from junk food by leaving tasty, healthy snacks on the counter within his reach. Consider investing in a large wooden bowl or a festively painted ceramic one you keep filled with fresh fruit, nuts and other healthy options. When he gets hungry between meals, there's no need from him to come running to you for a snack when he can grab whatever he wants from the bowl instead.

All of these things are an easy start to help your child become a responsible and independent child.

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