For many schools across the country, distance learning is in full swing. With the move into virtual education, families are trying to promote independence at home, especially with parents/guardians working remotely.
When it comes to a child’s learning, independence and self-advocacy are very important. Students need to learn how to speak up for themselves, navigate new programs, ask for help, and take ownership of their learning. These processes start when parents/guardians encourage these values into everyday life.
Here are a few ideas to help with that:
1. Help your child recognize natural leadership positions and develop them
Your child has natural leadership roles within the home. Whether that’s being an older sibling or caring for another or being the first to do something (ex: try a new sport), you can promote independence at home by encouraging your child to shine in his/her given role.
Try to create activities where your child is in charge of another family member. For example, getting another member of the family ready for an event or teaching another sibling how to do the dishes. These tasks provide out-of-school experiences that promote leadership. They also allow your child to feel more confident in his or her abilities.
2. Let your child take the reins in a group problem-solving activity
When it comes to whole-group activities, offer your child opportunities to take the reins (especially if the child is younger). These experiences can be invaluable to your child’s growth and confidence. If you’re playing a board game in teams, for example, Monopoly, ask your child to come up with the strategy. If you’re faced with conflict – should we go to the grocery store first or get gas first – ask your child to weigh in with his or her opinion.
If you allow your child to feel like he or she is in power, it helps to encourage independence in all areas of life!
3. Teach your child to practice standing up for him/herself in relaxed situations
This is by far one of the most challenging aspects of raising a child. Spend intentional time speaking with your child about his/her feelings. Ask for his/her opinions, and teach him/her how to politely, but firmly (depending on age, of course) stand up for his/her perspectives and ideas.
This information, especially coming from a trusted adult, is invaluable. Although challenging, this is an excellent way to promote independence at home, in a way that will transfer to your child’s educational setting and other areas of life.
4. Provide opportunities for empowerment and encouragement
Whenever possible, try to find ways to encourage your child. Share words of encouragement, compliment a decision or thought, and allow for your child to recognize his/her own moments of pride. These opportunities will help your child to feel more comfortable being and expressing his/her independence at home, and everywhere else!
For other in-home learning ideas and tips, click here.
Featured Image Credit: Josh Applegate