Independent Living Skills

Independent Living Skills

  Autor Claudia Gabriela Dumitriu, psiholog Data: 29.05.2009

Independent Living Skills
Since his first steps made by our baby, we as parents, start to plan his future, prepare him for life and for the moment when, in one way or another, he leave us and begins his own life. It is said that each of us brings in the adult life at least some of the habits of our family origins. Most part of the conflicts of a couple starts from here. 

The preparation for the independent living is a continuous process during childhood and adolescence. The success of this process depends largely on the quality of the relationship between parents and children, the degree of freedom that every parent gives the child so that to shape his behaviour in the desired direction without affecting his personality traits, without turning him into a duplicate of the parent and without imposing to observe some rules and customs with which the child does not feel that he resonates or are essentially useless. 

We will approach in the following, several areas in which we can begin early to model child's behaviour so as to develop them independent living skills. 
Self-care skills. In the first part of the period between 1-3 years, the child is in total dependence relationship with the mother, so we cannot talk about self-care skills because adults are responsible for child care. But by the end of this stage, the child can be encouraged and supported to feed himself and use the potty, if this skill is not formed yet. To discourage a child's attempts eating alone because he cannot do it or that he gets dirty means to keep him in a state of dependency which will later damage. 

After the age of 3-4 years we already can expand the intervention to other skills. The child may begin to choose oneself the outfit for the next day and learn to take it ready in the evening; he may have learned what kind of clothes are appropriate to the season where we are. He can be encouraged to 
wash in the morning and evening with rewards given when the toilet is properly conducted. If you cede the child's well-known refusal to wash their face and teeth in the morning, and we do this instead of them, the refusal behaviour is likely to extend to other duties they have. We may resort to tricks to stimulate him (buy him special toothpaste for children, fruited, or a system of symbolic rewards previously established and communicated to the child). 

When he starts going to kindergarten, the child is forced somewhat to take small responsibilities, to take care of his satchel, the package with food, wash his hands before and after eating, to ask permission to go to the bathroom. If these skills are stimulated and learned at home, he will have no difficulty adapting and will not be dependent on adult support. In addition, he can be encouraged to form his own opinions and to express preferences for what he wants to eat the next day, what clothes he wants to wear, what he wants to do in his spare time and what kind of games would he like to develop. 

Maintenance skills of personal space. Nursery is the macro universe or the equivalent of his own house in adulthood. Therefore, children can be taught when they are small how to take care of their own space, and how to appreciate it. Collecting the toys assets, placing clothes in their place, the ordering of objects in the room, are all activities that will empower him on taking care of his own space. If we do this pleasant activity, without presenting it as an obligation, the child will easily accept this responsibility. For the beginning, we can help our child to put in order his objects, to learn how to do it, and over time, once learned, he will be able to do it alone. In addition, to create the feeling that he is important and that you are counting on him in domestic activities, we can assign him some tasks that belong only to him, feeding the cat in the evening, folding the paper serviettes when you lay down the meal, etc. It is important that the tasks chosen to be simple, appropriate to the age, so as he manages to meet them successfully without creating the feeling that we help him or verify him. In this way he will get a sense of responsibility and importance, he will know that he is able and his parents trust him. 

Social skills. With the start of kindergarten, the child has contact with extended groups, passing through a period of adaptation. If so far he spent much of his time inside the family, now he has to comply with rules, learn to socialize, to share with others, he learns that his needs cannot be satisfied immediately, he is not anymore in focus and that others are also important. It is good to encourage children to communicate in any occasion, to express their feelings, complaints and desires in a constructive way, without disturbing or harming others. It is important for them to learn to know and defend their rights through communication with others. It is not wise to criticize or chide him in the presence of others, because in time he will lose his self confidence and shall become withdrawn and shy, not knowing how to defend himself or to express his dissatisfaction openly. Therefore it is better to listen with seriousness and commitment whenever he has something to say, pay attention to how he feels and the problems he faces to gain a sense of personal importance. In this way he will also know to listen to others and give them importance, in other words, he will acquire the habit of socializing. The child will always relate to others in the same way that he is treated, and he will take as a basis for socializing, the relations within the family, the patterns of behaviour he will face there and the type of communication he connects to. 

Read the English version of this article: Independent Living Skills