With the American celebration of Independence Day last week, my thoughts have turned to what it truly means to be independent and how we foster that in our children.
Often times when examining a concept, I like to start with its definition or origin. Merriam-Webster’s defines the word independent as “not dependent: such as… not subject to control by others: self-governing… not requiring or relying on something else: not contingent”
Indeed, isn’t a primary goal of raising and educating children to teach them how to become independent? Of course! We want our children to grow up and be able to take care of themselves. We want to teach our children to become independent in both their actions and their thinking.
How do we do this? We teach skills. From potty training to advanced calculus, the goal is greater independence and autonomy. In addition to teaching specific skills, we also teach our children how to think for themselves so that they can find answers and solutions on their own. This is a natural process and one that can be easily facilitated. Children are naturally curious and creative. They love exploring their environments starting very early. We’ve all seen how babies immediately put something in their mouth – often to our chagrin. And we’ve all seen toddlers search for solutions with their blocks or puzzles. This natural curiosity and creative impulse are instinctual precursors for independence. The more we foster these traits, the more the child’s independence grows.
Creativity and curiosity are also more than just inherent traits, they are skills we can teach. The more we expose children to enriched environments and opportunities, the more curious and creative they become. Success breeds success. As children become more curious and more creative, they can discover more and more on their own, independently. They become masters of their environments. The more they explore, the more they can create meaningful experiences for themselves.
Again, success breeds success. The more mastery children develop, their confidence grows and they tackle even greater challenges and develop even more skills. More skills equal more opportunities, and more opportunities equal more freedom, more independence.
Take advantage of our special summertime offer at DRAWN TO DISCOVER and give your child the gift of independence!