Supporting Independence

Children are worth the effort Today, Tomorrow and Beyond.

Supporting Independence

At Preschool the children are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves, their belongings, their decisions and choices at all stages throughout the day.
This involves but is not limited to such things as putting their own lunch in the fridge, putting on their own pants, answering their own questions (through both exploration and thinking), washing up their own plate, packing away areas they have been playing, putting away their craft and organizing their own belongings and lockers.
Sometimes in our daily lives it can be quicker to just answer their questions or do it for them. In taking the time and opportunity you can support the increase of independence and build confidence in their own ability (as well as significantly support their processing and planning. Brain development). In the long run this will also help you, a lot!
As the child learns the benefits of order resulting from cooperation, he begins to view himself as a person who is capable of making a contribution to others. Growth in this area is best acquired developmentally, whereby the child becomes useful and needed at an early age, with the expectation of becoming more self-reliant and independent as time passes.
This list is ACCUMULATIVE. As the child advances in age they can continue to maintain past responsibilities as well as assuming new ones. Tasks that are the child’s own personal responsibility, such as making their bed and tidying their room, we should no longer do for them. Tasks that help the whole family may be rotated, or a choice of chores may be given.
This list, meant to suggest possibilities, is only a starting point subject to the situation and creativity of the adult.
In gaining these responsibilities, it may be wiser to proceed gradually.
This involves encouraging each child to ‘TRY’ and ‘HAVE A GO’ at new things. E.g. ‘I can’t put my own pants on…’ suggest sitting down and trying and if you need help I am right here.
If your child asks you a question answer it with another question with a prompt to the answer e.g. What’s the time? (You are setting the table for dinner) Answer – Hmm if I am setting the table what do you think the time might almost be?
Before assigning duties, it would be helpful to keep the following principles in mind:
1. Allow the children choices in which jobs they would like to do. To do nothing is NOT an acceptable choice. They follow through with the choice or accept the consequences.
2. Allow the consequences to follow logically from the uncompleted job. Do not discuss beforehand what will happen if someone does not fulfil the commitment.
3. Vary the tasks. Children become easily bored with the same chores. They like new challenges.
4. Children like to move on to more challenging work; new privileges that they can take on now that they are bigger/stronger/older.
5. Remember that you are the model of “order”. Do not expect an orderliness and cleanliness from children that you do not expect of yourself.
6. Examine your personal standards. Perhaps you are a perfectionist, you feel uncomfortable if things are slightly out of order or are concerned about what others think. Learn to accept the house as a place of activity for family members, not as a reflection of your personal worth.
7. Probably most difficult: never do for the child what he can do for himself.

Home responsibilities for 3-4yr olds

1.Setting the table.
2. Putting groceries away.
3. Help with grocery list and shopping.
4. Follow a schedule to feed pets.
5. Assists with work in yard and garden.
6. Sweep, mop, and vacuum.
7. Make own bed (keep linens simple)
8. Helps load dishwasher and wash dishes.
9. Prepare food and learn simple recipes.
10. Share toys with friends.
11. Getting the mail.
12. Should be able to play without constant adult supervision.
13. Sharpen pencils.
14. Uses simple manners, such as “Please”, “Thank you”, “Excuse me”.
15. Dresses independently except for small buttons or ties.
16. Independently uses the bathroom, washes hands, brushes teeth and hair.
17. Clean up what they drop after eating. Clean up spills.
18. Pick up toys as finished and put in proper place
19. Put dirty clothes in basket
20. Stack books on shelf
21. Sort rubbish
22. Take out the rubbish to the big bin

Home responsibilities for 4-5 yr olds

All previous tasks
1.Help with meal planning and grocery shopping.
2. Help prepare lunch to take to school.
3. Set the table.
4. Peel carrots and potatoes.
5. Involved in more challenging preparation of food, including baking and cooking, with assistance.
Prepare simple snacks
6. Make bed and straighten room.
7. Choose clothing the night before, dresses self.
8. Ties shoes.
9. Attends to personal hygiene.
10. Fold clothes and sorts/puts them away.
11. Match socks and put away
12. Yard work and gardening.
13. Feed pets and clean their living area.