The start of a new school year is an exciting time full of new beginnings. As a parent, this transition period also provides an excellent opportunity to instill confidence and independence in your kids. Allowing children to have a say in their lives and make choices helps to build independence. Empowering children also builds resilience, which teaches them to bounce back from whatever life throws their way.
When children are allowed to make choices, they learn to weigh options, consider consequences, and make decisions. These skills will serve them well throughout their lives. Practicing independence helps children grow into authentic and competent individuals who can make choices, live freely, and not only face life’s challenges but overcome them by relying on their strengths and capabilities.
Of course, this doesn’t mean children should have a say over everything. It is essential that children still learn to work within rules and guidelines set by authorities, teachers, parents, and others who care for them. As parents, we can implement age-appropriate techniques to help our children thrive in the next school year.
Here are some tips to help children of all ages feel more self-assured tackling the school year ahead:
For Younger Kids:
- Encourage self-care – Practice tasks like getting dressed, packing their bag, or eating breakfast.
- Assign simple jobs – Assign tasks and encourage them to be a helper so they develop responsibility.
- Explore their interests – Allow free time for hobbies they enjoy to build self-esteem.
- Set expectations – Explain rules and consequences for their behavior and actions.
- Involve them in planning – Let them help pick school supplies, clothes, and extracurriculars.
- Create organizational systems – Use planners to track homework and schedules.
- Foster healthy friendships – Arrange get-togethers to practice social skills.
- Grant appropriate freedoms – Allow choices around fashion, hairstyles, and hobbies.
- Encourage goal-setting – Help them set academic and personal goals and check on progress.
- Discuss work/life balance – Collaborate on schedules for school, activities, socializing, and family.
- Include them when considering colleges, careers, and sports. Offer advice but respect their voice.
- Check their understanding – Ensure they know essential budgeting and time management skills.
At any age, it’s important to praise your child’s efforts. A confident, independent child has the best chance of being an effective learner and shaping a fantastic future for themselves.
No matter their age, valuing your children’s input, and granting appropriate autonomy, while providing guidance will help them become more independent and confident for the school days ahead.
A qualified and experienced therapist can help provide you with the tools to promote independence and confidence in your children effectively. Living Well Counseling Center in Tinton Falls offers individualized therapy to men and women ages fifteen and older. If you want to speak to someone about empowering your child or strengthening your child or teen’s independence, get in touch today.
TELEPHONE: (732) 440-9330