Allowing and encouraging the child to perform some tasks alone since baby is imperative for their development. Simple things like reaching for a toy, picking the fruit for the snack, brushing the teeth. Among other benefits, autonomy created in childhood creates more creative, empowering, responsible, problem-solving people ready to learn more complex adult skills. We prepared a quick guide with 7 skills necessary for your child’s autonomy – and practical tips to stimulate them!
1 – Power of choice
The child learns to choose from an early age; This is important for him to define his personality, preferences, tastes …
How to stimulate: allow the baby to participate in small choices on a daily basis. Which fruit to eat is a good start. Then the child can help choose the book he wants to read, the clothes he will wear, etc. At the beginning, limit the options so that he doesn´t feel lost, and widen the range of items as necessary.
2 – Ability to deal with frustration
Although it sounds like a feeling of failure, frustration is critical for the child to become a happy adult and not someone who is constantly unsatisfied.
How to stimulate: let the child deal with his limitations or mistakes. Don´t help to fit a toy block; allow him to try and get frustrated if he can´t do it. When he is older, let him make choices even though you know he won´t like what he chose. Let him deal with the result and do not criticize. Explain that there will be new chances to make new choices.
3 – Self-knowledge / self-confidence
Knowing and recognizing one’s own limitations and qualities helps a child to know what he or she is not capable of and is the key to self-improvement and emotional good health.
How to stimulate: the first step is to give sensory stimuli. That is: letting the baby know his own body and the world around him. Plays like lying face down to reach for a toy or feel different textures helps. Play in the sand, on the grass, on the ground. Ideally, he should feel the world in his way, by smelling objects, touching, and so on. The second step is to show that you believe in the child’s ability, that is a great stimulus for him to believe in himself. Don´t just allow him to perform simple tasks (such as dressing the uniform), but also give him room to discover his own way of doing things. Show that you support the child when he or she makes a mistake, and if that happens, rebuke what he has done and not who he is.
4 – Communication
As a saying goes, “who doesn´t communicate, goes wrong.” Babies already communicate through crying, but it is with our help that they learn to express themselves in other ways.
How to stimulate: with cognitive stimuli. Build or nesting games and toys that plays music are some examples. In addition, reading stories to children since babies is a worldwide recommendation, as it strengthens the bond and helps in language development.
5 – Motor coordination
Have you heard of fine and gross motor coordination? Drawing and eating with spoon are all done thanks to fine motor coordination. To the gross coordination, it is up to make the child walk, jump …
How to stimulate: for the fine, it is enough to propose activities that involve the movements of the hands (and their small muscles), such as holding a biter, painting with crayons or playing with modeling clay. For the gross, let the child explore free spaces, being able to run, play and move. Include ball in the play helps!
6 – Courage
Being afraid is natural, and healthy. But the courage to overcome it is essential for the child to take on challenges, learn new things and defend what he wants.
How to stimulate: give space for your child to express what he is feeling, and show that you understand it. Using books, music, drawings and other playful resources that talk about fears can help. Read also “Tips to know if the child’s fear goes beyond normal”
7 – Persistence
The key to all learning. After all, just trying (and making mistakes many time) is how we learn! The sooner the child understands this mechanism, the better.
How to stimulate: with positive stimuli. When the child is learning to walk and falls, for example, help him start over, and let him go free to try again. Resist doing something for the child just because he is not being able to do it. When he is older, you can explain him that not being successful in a moment doesn´t mean he’ll never get it. Sports also help in this understanding.