Making Your Child Independent by Dolores

You’re in a hurry, your rushing out the door, you must be at school on time or the appointment with your child’s therapist, he/she is just about ready (except you have been doing it all for him) and then he has to go to the bathroom, again! You end up hurrying him/her, stressing yourself and now you are defiantly late. He/she has no sense of time anyway but your blood pressure is through the roof.

We all have places we need to be with or without your child been present and it’s busy. And you want your child to be as independent as possible.

OK, divide your day and weekends up and don’t take it all on together.

Let’s start with the morning. If your child is a teenager let him set his own alarm!

Make a list of what your child can do. You may think your child can’t do much, is this a factor have you been taking away a bit of their independence. Make a define list and you will be surprised at what your child can do with a bit of support.

Can your child get out of bed and get to the bathroom. Does your child need a walker or wheelchair if so if this nearby? Would installing grab rails help?

Can your child brush their teeth, if not what part of that procedure can he do. Let’s take David, my son, at the start he couldn’t squeeze the toothpaste out and put it on the toothbrush so I put it on for him, then he could brush his teeth.

If your child cannot put on his clothes. Can your child take them off?

Let your child do what they can, don’t help.

Give yourself and your child time. Wake your child up 15 minutes earlier as to achieve tasks with no pressure. Get up earlier yourself, have yourself fully organised, bag by the door ready to go (or pack it the night before, it all helps) organisation is the key here especially for parents.

Breakfast:

Can your child pour milk to his cereal? If so let them. Buttering toast may be hard but start by letting them at least put it on the toast or they might be able to manage jam or slices of cheese. It all helps believe me.

When your child is finished is he/she able to put the cutlery in the dishwasher get their own coat and put it

Give plenty of notice

Give yourself plenty of time and the same for your child. I suggest you go to your child and give them clear instruction and a countdown. Say we will be leaving in 10-minutes, are you nearly ready? After 5 minutes I would remind them again. Don’t stress. Some children can’t comprehend time so be patient. Say again (if you have to) I’m heading to the car in 1-minute.

Compromise

Don’t try and “right” everything at the same time and some situations may be just too challenging for your child to achieve right now. My suggestion would be to start with the small things and correct them first before moving on to something else.

Just one more point – Don’t strive for perfection, no one is.

Give lots of praise, praise, praise. You can never give enough. It encourages your child and gives them a feeling of accomplishment.

We love our children and would do everything we can for them. However, sometimes it is harder to help them achieve it for themselves. Remember by helping them achieve we are giving them independence.

Time, organisation and planning.