How can a day care center help your child to become more independent? As your child grows and develops, they will start to explore on their own and engage in self-care behaviors. But this doesn't mean your child is ready to make their own breakfast or pack their lunch just yet. Take a look at what parents need to know about independence, child development, and how an early learning program can help.
When Does Independence Develop?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), preschoolers (ages four to six) are beginning to develop the ability to act independently. But your toddler or younger preschooler is already taking the first steps towards independence. As your child nears the older pre-k years, it's likely that you will notice a change in their desire to act independently. Along with wanting to act independently, your child will have the ability to tackle some independence-related tasks.
Do You Have To Wait Until Preschool To Help Your Child Act Independently?
No, you do not need to wait until your child reaches age four (or older) to help them improve self-care and self-reliance-related skills. There are simple ways to help a toddler or young preschooler become more independent. These include encouraging your toddler to feed themselves, choose their own clothes, dress themselves, brush their own hair, and wash their own hands.
How Can Daycare Help Your Child To Become Independent?
The simple activities you try at home, such as encouraging your child to feed and dress themselves, are also part of the daycare day. Not only will your child get the chance to practice these basic self-care skills, but they may also get the opportunity to set up a play space, clean up a play space, or choose between a few different activities (depending on the program and the teacher).
Daycare also gives the young child a chance to interact with other people (adults and children), engage in new activities, and try self-care tasks without a parent's help. While it isn't always easy for a parent, taking a step back and letting your child learn, grow, and explore can help them build self-confidence.
What Independence-Building Activities Will the Children Try In Care?
The answer to this question depends on the child care program and the early childhood educator. Some child care programs encourage children to build independence through daily self-care routines, others use a general choice-based approach to learning, and others have a totally different method of encouraging independence.
Independence-building activities are child-centered and hands-on. This means the teacher won't "do" for the students. Instead, they'll provide a framework for an activity and offer some direction. But it's up to the child to complete the task, make their own decisions, and work through challenges. To learn more about how your child can develop this growing ability, talk to their teacher.
For more info, contact a local school like Creative Montessori Learning Center.