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Building Responsibility and Independence in School-Age Children

As parents, one of our most important jobs is teaching our kids how to care for themselves. But it’s not always easy for them to become more independent and responsible, and it’s not always easy for their parents to let go. Some of this is because, as parents, we often want to make things easy for them, save them from their mistakes, and limit the struggle or failure they must endure.

It’s a normal and important part of growing up to become more independent and do more things without your parents. So, how can parents and caregivers of kids attening child care in Potomac, MD, support their children in becoming more independent and self-reliant?

Here are some easy things you can do daily to help your child become more independent.

Allow Them to Make Mistakes

It might seem counterintuitive initially, but letting kids make mistakes teaches them how to succeed. When they make one, tell them it’s okay and help them come up with ideas for how to do better next time. If necessary, you should also come up with ways to fix the problem. Mistakes should be seen as chances to learn.

This change in thinking can be used for small and big mistakes, like not bringing an umbrella when it’s supposed to rain or failing a test because they didn’t study until the night before. It can be hard to let them feel any pain or sadness that comes with their choice. But doing so helps them grow, boost their self-esteem, and make it easier for them to deal with hard times.

Help With Household Chores

Your child should be able to help with age-appropriate household activities, such as sweeping floors and cleaning dishes, depending on how dependable and concentrated they can be. Even very young children can assist with tasks such as setting the table and cleaning up their rooms. Kids who participate in household chores develop a sense of responsibility and can experience a boost to their self-confidence as they observe their efforts’ positive impact on their families.

kids hanging out with friends

Let Them Hang Out with Friends

Kids spend more time away from home doing things on their own as they get older. Kids in school will be asked to more birthday parties without their parents. They will go to their friends’ houses to play alone, with less close supervision from their parents. They will choose the games they want to play and work out any problems on their own.

If your child is ready, set up play dates at your home with kids from child care in Potomac, MD, and let them decide what they want to do with their friends. Tell them it will be fun to go to friends’ houses without you and that you can share your day with them when you pick them up.

Offer Freedoms Within Limits

Giving children some freedom and letting them make choices is a great way to give them power, boost their confidence in their ability to make decisions, and help them develop a sense of responsibility. When kids can make their own decisions, they have more chances to think on their feet and learn from the results of their actions.

Parents can show kids that their ideas, wants, and needs are respected and valued by giving them lots of chances to make their own choices. The more kids get used to making decisions on their own, the better.


Keep in mind that kids can feel stressed if they have too many choices. Try to give them two or three choices that you feel good about. This makes it easier for you to say “yes” to whichever choice they choose. Also, when you give them more freedom, make sure to keep an eye on them, give them rules, or help them make choices as needed.

Mistakes will happen. That just means your child isn’t ready for the new freedom yet. In that case, be ready to step in and help them stay safe or act like adults. The privilege will be taken away as a normal result. So, instead of focusing on what they did wrong, try to help them learn the skills they need to try freedom again when they are ready.

Care for Younger Siblings

One of the best ways for kids to learn how to be responsible and grown is to look after younger kids. Look around your neighborhood for some babysitting opportunities. Chances are, these teens will be responsible, grounded, and loving. What “babysitting” means for a child in school depends on the family. Putting a younger child in the care of an older one is a great way to help kids learn to be independent and responsible.

adult Comforting a child

Try Not to Overcorrect

When your child is trying to do something on their own, try not to correct them as much as possible. For example, don’t fix your child’s bed if you ask them to make it, and it’s not perfect. Always try to remember that the goal isn’t to be perfect. The goal is to let your child take care of things on his or her own. If they feel like they aren’t doing it well enough every time they try, they won’t want to try again.

Final Thoughts

Parents and caregivers of kids in child care in Potomac, MD, can show kids how important independence and responsibility is. By supporting kids when they feel needy or like they need more space to do things on their own, you are giving your child the tools they need to move toward independence at their own pace and with confidence and self-assurance.

It can be both a gift and a battle to help your child become more independent. Remember that the more you help them, the less they can help themselves and the less they learn. The best way to help kids become more independent is to allow them to do things on their own.

children sitting together outisde

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