How to Build Independence in Preschoolers

Nurturing independence in preschoolers might be as simple as asking them to help you here and there or as nerve-wracking as letting them make their own choices. But human independence is a natural process of growing up because they will leave the nest several years later. So, how can you help your preschooler build independence?

Don’t Do Things They Can Handle Themselves.

Can your child brush their teeth, tie shoelaces, or even put on their shoes? If they can independently do such things, then let them do it. Of course, you will sometimes be tempted to help them do it quickly and easily, but the road to independence comes with mistakes, and of course, it takes time. Well, don’t be taken back when they wear their clothes inside out or put on mismatched shoes. This isn’t the world because soon, they will be their own masters.

Give them Choices

Part of growing up involves making decisions, and decisions need choices. You might want them to help them make wise decisions but remember kids know what they want, even though sometimes they get things wrong.

Instead of being a rigid parent who has a law for everything or constantly replying to their requests with yes or no, you can give them the freedom to choose.

For instance, you can give them three shoes and let them decide which one they want to put down. If you are going to eat out, ask them what they would probably like to eat. If it’s activities, ask them if they want to go for a walk, swim, or visit their grandparents.

It’s the little things such as this that matter and encourage independence in preschoolers. This way, they can learn early to weigh different options and determine which one has more value. Did you know that telling your child constantly that they can do this and can’t do that will eventually make them rebellious? This is because they also want to know why they can’t make decisions for themselves. Their ideas and choices matter too.

Let them Solve Problems.

If your child can make choices, then they can solve certain problems. Sometimes you might feel it’s only right to help them; well, if they are in danger or risk harming themselves, you shouldn’t hesitate to help them.

When children are first learning to walk, we must help them. However, we must also let them fall. This is the only way they can learn what to do next. Give them challenging problems to solve since this is a great way of helping them deal with frustrations and figure out how they can get out of challenges.

Do you know the best way to encourage problem-solving skills as a parent? Reinforce their ability to make solve challenges by complementing or praising them. If they make a wrong decision, praise their effort first but make them understand that they can do better in the future. Like “you know how to put your shoes on, but next time, don’t forget to tie them.”

Encourage Free Play

For starters, preschoolers need fun and exciting activities, and free play is the best way to expend energy, nurture healthy growth, encourage problem-solving skills, and foster creativity. Some of the best free play activities include:

  • Reading: get them books with illustrations and text that they can enjoy looking at and reading. Note that this shouldn’t be part of their study program or homework.
  • Playground equipment: consider the equipment that encourages running around, swinging, and climbing.
  • Dress-up and make-believe games.
  • Painting, coloring, drawing, and gluing with art material such as finger paints, crayons, and markers.
  • Toys and building materials such as Legos and blocks
  • Repurposed items such as cereal boxes, tissue rolls, etc.

Ensure that you observe what your child loves to do most of them and encourage them. Is it building Legos? Drawing? or reading? Whatever it is, let them know that they have your full support.

You can watch and help them initially, but building independence doesn’t require your intervention in this case. Of course, you can play with your child but the more they grow and understand the rules of the game, let they take the lead.

Give Your Child Chores

Yes, you can give your preschooler simple tasks to do. Let them help you with light tasks every day. For instance, removing plates from the dinner table, putting their toys back in the storage, and even picking after themselves.

This way, you will help them become self-reliant since they have a sense of responsibility. However, please don’t make it a habit of rewarding your child after doing these tasks because they will be doing them with expectations.

Set a Routine

A routine is highly effective in fostering independence. For instance, your preschooler should know that after every meal, they need to put the used utensil away, or you will always read them a book before bed. It creates anticipation since they know from “this I should move to that.” Besides that, it reduces the possibilities of tantrums, surprises, and struggles.

A predictable routine is also important in minimizing the chances of confusion since children need to learn the same thing repeatedly before they can finally master it.

Don’t overwhelm your kids with responsibilities to create a routine. In fact, you should focus on one or two things at a time, and once they have mastered it, you can move to the next.

Let them Resolve their Conflicts.

Your child will interact with their siblings or other people of their age group, and through these interactions, different kinds of relationships will be built. That’s why they also experience conflicts with other children while playing.

However, you shouldn’t always try to have your way in conflicts involving kids. Let them learn to solve these issues independently to develop conflict resolution skills.

When your child comes to report that another kid has done something to them, take your time to learn what happened. After that, ask them their feeling regarding that situation and how they sorted it out. If possible, give them guidance on how they should solve such problems in the future. This way, you will help them build confidence and also ease the state of the current situation without them creating enmity with other kids.

Encourage them to Build their Own Projects.

This can be something as simple as drawing an item, building puzzles, or arranging their room. The best thing about these projects is that it helps you “see” your child’s mind. Besides that, it’s essential for their growth since projects help them focus their attention and time on specific things.

Make Your Child Accountable

You don’t need to overly protect your child from the consequences of their actions. Your child needs to learn cause-and-effect relationships from positive and negative behaviors.

Your child might feel disappointed, but it will help them understand how the real world works. Without holding your child accountable and providing the right guidance, you will prevent them from understanding life, which might make them problematic adults.

If you are looking for the best way to build your child’s independence, including a preschooler, Newtonshowcamp is one of Singapore’s most established science camps. This Easter holiday, the mutiactivity camp is Organizing the Easter Camp 2022, dubbed EASTER Science 5.0! This is the only kids camp in Singapore where your child is guaranteed hands-on interactive sessions and experiments while socializing with other children. You can find more information about Newtonshow camp here.

What to Say to Your Child While They Engage in Different Activities

While your child is working on different projects or playing, your presence or help may be important. However, there’s no better way to make them feel they are growing into independence than offering verbal feedback. It’s been found that “P.R.I.D.E” skills help to reinforce positive behavior.

  • Praise: good behavior should be praised for it to be repeated. Remind them that you are proud of their milestones.
  • Reflect: this mainly involves what your child tells. If they say, “I made my bed, “ you can say, “ You made your bed!”.
  • Imitate: good behavior should be imitated to ensure that they master it. This helps to promote cooperation. For instance, if your child is drawing, you can also draw something similar.
  • Describe: whether your child is doing something wrong or right, description is an important part of learning, and it helps them become better individuals. For instance, it can say, “so you drew a big house!”.
  • Enthusiastic: you need to be enthusiastic about your child’s work or play activities. It helps them know that you are interested and invested in their life. Talk to them, smile when you find them doing something, and be positive/warm in your interactions.


Helping your youngster develop a sense of self is the best way to ensure that they grow to be healthy, mature, and independent adults. It always feels nice to know your child needs you as a parent, but it’s even better knowing that you are nurturing them to become self-reliant. Give them child-friendly chores, help them solve problems, and sometimes let them choose. In between these activities, don’t forget to imitate, describe, reflect, and praise!




4 Responses to “How to Build Independence in Preschoolers”

  • Insightful.:


    GD Star Rating
  • Harder Truths:

    really? The parents cannot think themselves and only know how to follow Regime orders to jab a child to death. Now suddenly they are thinkers and can teach the same child to think? Non-thinkers cannot teach others to think – especially children.

    GD Star Rating
  • xoxo:

    Even the *young* PARENTS ARE DEPENDANT?
    What more their kiddies?

    Reform needed.

    GD Star Rating
  • Harder Truths:


    Keep training them to be independent. Make them follow all the rules to be independent. Make sure they think correctly so they are independent. They mus pass all the independence exams. develop the method they should behave and think to be independent. Punish them severely if they do not follow the method to be independent. Reward them if they follow all the rules and become independent.

    Once they are independent they can be controlled easily. That is the idea.

    GD Star Rating

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