How to promote healthy autonomy in children

When a child has a healthy sense of autonomy, he must respect the limits established by the parents. A young child will know perfectly well that she is free to explore the safe world that has been set up for her and will be able to develop a good sense of making healthy decisions. For this reason, you will know how to differentiate what is safe from what is not. Parents should set a good example by their attitudes and actions.

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If parents become aware of the importance of children having autonomy, they will be helping them to feel capable of doing things for themselves, to have initiative and motivation for their environment… something essential for when they start school -following any pedagogy, remember that none is better than another and that it is people with a vocation who make teaching something possible.

Furthermore, teaching autonomy to children can have a very positive influence on their self-esteem. An essential self-esteem in development because to feel happy, they need self-esteem and security in their actions. If you are not sure how you can teach autonomy to your children, then do not miss the following tips.

Kindness with firmness

It is necessary to be kind but firm. Always carry out what you say you are going to do so that your actions are consistent, but it is always necessary to have respect for your children. Young children also need to feel that they are respected, that way they will learn to respect others.

Finish one thing and then move on to another

Young children need to have the opportunity to finish one activity before moving on to another. Each child has their own time, so it is necessary that you respect their time before finishing an activity and that they can move on to another. The rush and stress of the adult to go faster should not influence the pace and development of children, therefore, it is necessary for adults to work time and patience.

Promote healthy autonomy in children

Teach your child by doing

Children learn by observing and you will be their best example from the moment they enter this world. This means that young children need fewer words and more action… they need to see what they are going to learn and then they need to do it with their own hands. They will make mistakes and they will make mistakes and that is necessary for learning, so if makes a mistake remind them that it is okay and that you will try again.

For example, many children hit their parents, other children or pets… Parents often make the mistake of telling them that they don’t hit or that they don’t do it again. This behavior is often just an exploration. It is necessary to model the appropriate behavior, taking the child’s hand and repeating for example ‘pat instead of hitting’.

Avoid telling him what he can NOT do

Children they need opportunities and for that they need you as a guide. Show your kids what to do by being a proper role model, but avoid telling them what they can’t do. If you tell them ‘no’ many times, in addition to limiting them, there will come a time when they stop listening to your refusals and start doing what they want -even if they hide it from you-.

Encourage your child to think

In order to discover the world, children need to think, they need to feel involved in what they are doing, so don’t hesitate to ask them ‘how’, ‘why’. Children need reflection questions to be able to think about the things closest to them, they must figure out the answers even if adults guide them along the way.

Offer limited options

Children need to choose and feel that they are in control, but they cannot be given all the freedom of choice either because maturely they are not capable of making decisions, but with limited and acceptable options, things change and improve. Avoid open-ended options that encourage a no for an answer. For example, instead of saying: Do you want to go to bed?, it’s better to say something like: What do we do before we put on our pajamas? Another example would be: Which sweater do you prefer to wear, blue or green?

Distraction and redirection

Distraction and redirection are very important on many occasions. This is a fundamental tool in positive discipline. Teaching a child what she can do instead of telling her what she can’t do is critical. Children will explore more safely, they just need a safe place and avoid confinement that only leads to frustration, doubt and shame.

An effective distraction means giving the child an appropriate alternative activity so that he can redirect her behavior. This will have to be repeated taking time and patience. Never use bad words towards children, avoid slapping or slapping… violence is NEVER a correct option for the education of our children.

And of course, it is necessary to avoid power struggles… a hug and affectionate behavior will always be much more effective for children to learn with love. Parents need to differentiate the wants from the needs of the children. Parental supervision must be careful and loving in order to teach the skills well.