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How to make your child independent in early childhood

Confidence and independence are two things most parents want for in their children.   

While they are very different, it’s fair to say that confidence and independence are intrinsically intertwined. In our experience, when your child unlocks the door to one, you will likely see them grow in both capacities.  

In this article, we consider key ways to help your young child master becoming a confident and independent individual – and how Kids Club Early Learning Centres support each child on their development journey. 

Promoting independence in early childhood – and why it matters 

As a parent, we all want the best for our children. While it’s difficult to imagine them as adults when they are so young, all too quickly, children grow into adults and take on life’s varying responsibilities. Everything we teach them during childhood helps prepare them for later life – and one of the most valuable skills you can encourage is independence. 

Promoting independence when a child is young (and at their most susceptible to learning) has huge implications for their future. Encouraging them to think for themselves, make important life decisions and operate independently does more than set children up with essential life skills – it provides a foundation for self-confidence, boosts self-esteem and increases overall wellbeing. 

There are multiple reasons why teaching independence during early childhood matters:

Teaches essential skills 

From basics like dressing and feeding themselves to more complex tasks like problem-solving, encouraging a child to handle tasks on their own contributes to their immediate development and better prepares them for managing often trickier situations later. 

Empowers the individual 

When children take ownership of their decision-making, it gives them a sense of autonomy. Children who are encouraged to act independently and take responsibility for their actions quickly build self-worth, grow in confidence, and become stronger mentally. 

Fosters a love of learning 

Giving children the freedom to explore their interests and curiosities independently helps develop their thirst for knowledge. This increases motivation and a passion to learn – both of which will serve them well in childhood and as they grow older.

How can you help build self-confidence in a child? 

For a long time, we have known how children do most of their brain development during their first five years on the planet. Hence, this is a critical time period essential for learning skills to navigate life positively. 

We can see how independence drives confidence – when a child is encouraged to think for themselves, make decisions and act on them, this presents autonomy. Yet many children lack confidence – perhaps not yet encouraged to stand on their own two tiny feet. It’s understandable; most parents will do anything to help their child, and sometimes, that support goes above the level it needs to, limiting the opportunities a child has to think and act freely.

Thankfully, confidence is another skill we can teach our young children – giving them the strength to be independent. 

Parents and professionals working in early years education can play a huge role, helping little ones as young as one year old build confidence.

Here are some practical ways to do so:

Create a safe environment 

Children need to feel safe before they speak out, and it starts with creating an environment in which to express themselves without judgement. Let a child know it’s OK for them to talk about their feelings – and that you are there to listen – and encourage active two-way communication.

Congratulate effort 

At times, it is easy for children to focus on the result they want to achieve and don’t give any thought to how they got there. By praising effort at each step of a process or activity, children can see those efforts are recognised and rewarded despite the outcome, teaching them how important it is to try their best and never give up.

Set achievable goals 

Some tasks are trickier than others for a young mind to master. When supporting a child with learning a new task, first aim for one they can achieve without needing any help. The feeling of achievement tells them, “I CAN!” in place of “I can’t…”, encouraging them always to try something new. 

Give feedback 

While praise is great for children, so is constructive feedback. Otherwise, how will they learn about what NOT to do next time? Helping a child recognise areas for improvement allows them to appreciate it’s OK to get something wrong and always allow them to put it right. Once they master those skills they first found difficult, their confidence will grow tenfold. 

Promote positivity 

Just as the feedback you give to a child should be done with positivity, kids need to learn the art of being positive about themselves. Even adults can have negative thoughts creep into their minds sometimes, yet most of us know how to switch them off quickly and move on. Teaching children to be kind to themselves with positive affirmation feeds into a self-belief and confidence necessary through their childhood and beyond. 

Support interests 

Most people shine bright when completing activities they enjoy rather than loathe – and it’s no different for children. Provide children with tasks based on their interests and passions, and they will likely excel, in turn, giving them a spring in their step and a real confidence boost. 

Be a role model 

Grown-ups easily influence young people in their company, be it their parents, grandparents, other family members or professional carers. By presenting themselves confidently, children around them will likely mirror their behaviour and learn to act with confidence, too.

Celebrate unique qualities 

Children sometimes feel awkward when they think they are different from others– yet their unique qualities make them special! When we help children appreciate their individual qualities, they begin to see them positively and as a source of strength, increasing their confidence and self-esteem. 

Kids Club: Key ways to help a child build confidence and independence 

Building self-confidence is an ongoing process that won’t happen overnight. Patience, support and a nurturing environment provide a solid foundation for teaching confidence and independence, making Kids Club the perfect setting for young children to learn these essential life skills. 

Aligned with the National Quality Standards for childcare, our seven core educational pillars ensure an exceptional childcare experience for children in our Nursery, Toddler and Preschool rooms. Here’s how each pillar helps encourage individuals to develop their confidence and independence at Kids Club: 

Child-led learning and education: Each child is treated as an individual and presented with learning experiences based on their interests, which they follow at their own pace. 

Physical health, nutrition and wellbeing: The children learn how food supports their health and are encouraged to feed themselves independently from the nursery room onwards. 

Premium playscapes and learning environments: The Kids Club setting encourages children to think independently, creating their own games and imaginative play.

Highly experienced Educators: The team communicates positively with children, giving praise and feedback to allow individuals to achieve their tasks and never give up. 

Foundations for building relationships: Our priority to nurture the children creates an environment of trust, building their self-esteem and giving them the confidence to try something new.

Family engagement and community collaboration: An open-door policy ensures parents, carers, and Educators collaborate to create a happy learning environment where children thrive. 

Effective leadership, continuous improvement: All our team use friendly, positive language, encouraging two-way communication and confidence through role modelling. 

Final words 

Independence in childhood can have a long-lasting impact on an individual as they grow, teaching life skills building self-esteem and a love of learning. With independence comes a confidence that will serve every child well as they develop into young adults and beyond. Early learning centres like Kids Club provide an incredible environment to help children master these critical skills, and many more. 

If you are concerned about your child and feel they have particularly low self-esteem, they may need extra support or encouragement to overcome these challenges. Speak to your care provider or GP about how you can help grow their confidence for good.

If you want to learn more, call Kids Club Early Childhood Learning Centres or book a tour of your closest Kids Club Early Learning Centre today! Click here to view your closest Centre. 

If you want to learn more, call Kids Club Early Childhood Learning Centres or book a tour now of your closest Kids Club Early Learning Centre, click here to view your closest Centre.

As the leading provider of early childhood care in Australia we always put your child first. We are committed to 7 National Quality Standards.