Inside this post: Raising independent kids just got easier with these quick tools and tricks. Promote independence, responsibility and hard work ethic with a few simple ideas.
Life is busy.
I hear it every day. Consistently, the challenge that is voiced most from moms in our community is time management. Balancing all of the demands of motherhood…with patience, joy, and fun.
Easy, right? (Not.)
I was fighting to remain patient as my three-year-old repeated over and over “I do it myself!” (I bet that sounds familiar) when a critical thought popped into my head:
Why am I choosing to make this harder on myself?
Enter the routine cards…
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Instead of fighting my strong-willed child all day long, I realized I could encourage his independence and give him opportunities to accomplish his daily tasks on his own.
The routine cards are pure gold.
I watched him start to tackle his routine on his own and I realized there were several tools I could put in place to help him gain even more independence.
Tricks for raising independent kids.
We adjusted a few small things in our home to create an environment and culture of independence and we have seen him and his younger sister thrive.
Here are 10+ quick fixes to create an environment in your home for raising independent kids…
Tools for Kids to Independently Following Routines
Learning when it’s okay to get out of bed (ahem…not 5 am) was the first hump I wanted to get us over. Trying to put my son back to sleep after he got out of bed felt more like a battle than success training.
This Okay to Wake! Alarm Clock was a game changer.
It lights up in bright green when the designated “okay to get out of bed” time comes around. Originally, we used a regular clock and it worked well too. But we got the Okay to Wake clock for fun and that seemed to breed more consistency on his part.
After my son wakes up, he gets started on his own (most days) using his routine cards. Go potty, get dressed (I lay out his clothes the night before), brush teeth… by the time I see him in the living room he’s basically ready for the day.
I did have some concern about his ability to brush his teeth by himself (which I do for him every night). So we got this great timer. He loves using his “tool” and it encourages him to brush longer and think about how he is brushing his teeth. So, while I’m sure they aren’t brushed 100% up to my standards, it’s good enough for the morning.
For breakfast, we also moved the milk to a shelf he could reach and started putting cereal into easy to use containers and bought him a double step stool. These two things allowed him to reach the counter, pour his cereal and get started eating.
Tools for Independent Kids’ Play
I love and think it is really important for me to get down on the floor and play with my kids. But let’s be honest, I can’t do that all day.
So we restructured a few things around our house to encourage more independent play.
We started with the most obvious: toy storage. It sounds so obvious, but we realized that we had set it up in a way that didn’t make toys readily accessible. So I consolidated and invested in an easy to use storage system that he could access with no issue. Now, if he wants to grab a special playset, he can get them without help.
Grandma and Grandpa supplied the next idea: When my daughter was born, my folks bought my son an art box so he could grab his coloring book and box filled with crayons and colored pencils and start creating. This was the perfect activity for him while my hands were full with his new sister and has continued to prove to be a way better system than me storing them in the closet down the hall.
Sometimes I have to pull out the magic eraser to clean up a little wayward independence, but it’s well worth it and those things really do work like magic.
To help get my kids out the door and to the park faster in the afternoon, I set my kids up with everything they needed right in our laundry room. I store their shoes on a low shelf (and only buy shoes that are easy to slip on himself – sorry if they aren’t cute, I’m all about practical these days) and hung up a coat hook rail that even my 18 month old daughter can reach.
Now, I can send both of them (you’d be shocked how much an 18 month old can manage on their own when given the opportunity) into the laundry room to grab their shoes and sweaters themselves.
Tools for Independent Kids’ Meals
You’ve heard me say it once, and I’ll say it again: everyone needs the suction placement plate. Kids want to be like us, mimic us and use the tools we are using. So we set our kids up with a real place setting. The suction plate helps ensure it doesn’t end up on the floor.
We went ahead and bought the kiddy cutlery set that most similarly mimics adult silverware and allows our oldest to practice safe knife skills. We are working towards cutting his food, use his own knife to help scoop up those hard to get last bites and help him put a napkin in his lap.
Bonus Tool That We Just Love
Again, I have to credit this to my mom. She grabbed one of these projection nightlights for my son, just because she thought it would be fun and it totally is.
Now there is just enough light for him to get himself out of bed at night and wander safely to the bathroom to go potty when needed without having to call me.
These are a few easy changes we made in our home to create a culture of independence. I was really surprised how much my son’s independence expanded when I gave him the opportunity to do more on his own. What other ideas have worked for your kids?
Print this free printable!
This post comes with a free printable to give you an easy step-by-step guide to raise independent kids. Plus, remember what independent skills are age-appropriate for your kids!
Here’s a sneak peek…
Download Your Free Printable
- Download the checklist. You’ll get the printable, plus join my weekly parenting newsletter!
- Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
- Place it on your refrigerator. Use it as a quick reference to keep parenting simple!
Want more on parenting?
- How to Handle Back Talk and Disrespect Like a Parenting Warrior
- One Surefire Way to Raise Responsible Kids
- 7 Foods That Will Support Better Behavior in Kids – According to Science
- How to Teach Your Kids to Follow a Routine Without Reminders
- 101+ Printable Chore Cards That Will Get Your Kids to Help Out
I've created a free email series just for you! If you are struggling with finding a routine, rhythm or schedule, this email series will help you find one that will work for YOUR family. Yes, really. I've seen my sample routines work time and time again for parents. I know it can work for you too.
This free email series will help you:
- Free sample routines for your child
- Best morning routine tips and tricks your kids will actually follow
- All-time favorite parenting hacks for getting more cooperation at bedtime
- Step-by-step guide for using a printable daily schedule with kids