Fostering independence in preschoolers means equipping them with essential life skills like decision-making and self-confidence. Here are some tips to help you encourage independence in your preschooler!

Provide Flexibility within Structure

When it comes to daily routines, a predictable and consistent schedule can help children feel safe. Being rigid about the routine, however, can lead to frustration. Maintain a daily schedule and let your child know what to expect, but be willing to make changes when necessary. The flexibility will help your child manage the day without getting too overwhelmed.

As your kiddos get used to the routine, they’ll begin to learn to take on more responsibilities for their daily activities. Allowing them to slowly take charge will give them confidence and build perseverance.

Let Them Choose

Preschoolers are at an age where they are eager to make choices. So, let them! Making choices not only helps build their cognitive function, but it gives children a sense of independence and allows them to explore their likes and dislikes.

Start simple with what they would like to wear that day or which toy they want to play with, and gradually increase complexity. Allowing them choices doesn’t mean they have free reign; it just means they have the freedom to choose from the options you provide. That being said, remember that young children can feel overwhelmed by too many options. When you begin offering them choices, keep it simple and only offer two or three options at a time.

Pick Your Battles

Preschoolers like to butt heads with their parents every now and again…and again. Maybe they want to make a choice when you didn’t offer one, or they want the secret third option when you only gave two options to choose from. When it comes to this, ask yourself, “Will this matter a year from now?” Pick your battles. There are battles you will always get the final say in the matter – like when it comes to the safety, health, and well-being of your child. But, other battles, like the movie they want to watch at family movie night, are something you can let them win.

Give Them Chores

Chores are a wonderful way to help preschoolers build a sense of responsibility, develop executive functions, and teach teamwork. The tasks you delegate may take a little longer or have a few extra steps, but it’s all in the name of building their independence. Age-appropriate chores can include putting away toys, setting the table, or feeding a pet. Organizing their belongings is also another great option – this skill will translate into classroom organization when they start kindergarten. Win-win!

Nurture Free Play

Play in all its forms is essential for children to help them grow and develop. But free play is best for helping children develop independence. Free play encourages creativity, problem-solving, and imaginative thinking and will allow you to not give direction or constant supervision. Provide them with age-appropriate toys, costumes, art supplies, and books to explore and enjoy on their own.

To build up their independence skills, it’s important for your child to not feel the need to be constantly entertained by you, teachers, grandparents, etc. Leave them to their own devices during these free play sessions. If they seem stuck, then you can offer some guidance.

Encourage Healthy Risk

As a parent, it’s your job to keep your kids safe. But for your child’s development, it’s necessary to allow them to take healthy risks.

When we say risks, we don’t mean hazards. A hazard is something unpredictable and unmanageable that can hurt your child, like traffic. A healthy risk may make you cringe but supports your child’s growth. An example of this is your child climbing a tree under your watchful eye after discussing the safety rules and potential dangers. In this scenario, you’ve done your part to ensure your child’s safety, and your child knows and can moderate potential dangers.

Embrace Mistakes

Everybody makes mistakes, especially kids. Instead of getting frustrated, embrace the mistakes and know these are just learning opportunities for your kiddo. The learning doesn’t just come from trial and error, but also from how you respond and teach them to pick themselves back up.

Giggle and Grow logo on a white background.

If you’re on the hunt for a preschool that helps foster independence – look no further than Giggle and Grow for your child!

Giggle and Grow is Here to Help Your Child Grow

Another way to help preschoolers develop their independence? Choosing a preschool that supports the development of independence in your child through activities and play. If you’re on the hunt for a preschool like that – look no further than Giggle and Grow for your child!

At Giggle and Grow in Gilbert, Arizona, we focus on the needs of very young children and will help your child grow with guidance and encouragement from our teachers. We strive to make a positive difference in the life of every child by partnering with parents to provide an environment that is safe, nurturing, educational, and individualized. Let us help your child learn, play, and grow.