Children can become active participants in their learning and growth when you encourage them to develop independence. Parents want their children to be self-sufficient, but our protective instincts make us shield them from hardship, protect them from the consequences of their errors, and minimise their exposure to struggle or failure. Helping your child become more independent requires time and effort, but the benefits are well worth it. Opportunities for independence are crucial for fostering a feeling of identity and self-worth, not to mention a capacity for patience and endurance. Here are a few tips that can help promote independence in your preschooler.

1. Set predictable routines

Fostering independence requires establishing routines. Like adults, preparation helps children take on duties when they can plan their day. For example, establishing a morning routine – brushing teeth, eating breakfast, packing for school – allows children to become familiar with each step of the process of getting ready for school. Children repeatedly going through these patterns begin to anticipate what will happen next and learn to take on more responsibility by doing the next step themselves while requiring less supervision. Allowing your child to do more (within reason) encourages independence as you let them know that you have faith in their abilities.

2. Allocate relevant chores

Encourage your child to help with simple chores like clearing up their room after themselves, putting the groceries away, and cleaning up the toys after playtime. Make sure the tasks you assign children are both necessary and age-appropriate. The assignments don’t have to be complicated, but tasks should involve planning and forward-thinking, such as setting the table or helping with the laundry. When children feel they genuinely contribute to the household, they are much more willing to assist. Completing meaningful tasks helps them  recognise positive feelings associated with accomplishments. 

3. Allow choice and reasonable risk

Allow your child to make their own decisions within given parameters, which could be as easy as letting them choose what to wear or what cup to use. When kids have options, it makes them feel like they have some influence and control over their actions. It’s a developmental step which shows them that not everything is planned. Additionally, let your child attempt new activities without rushing in to save the day (unless they are really stumped). It gives them time to figure it out and develop their problem-solving skills.

4. Teach them to prepare 

It may be tempting to speed up the morning process by preparing your child’s school bag yourself, but they need to do it to understand that things don’t just miraculously appear in their bag every day. Reduce the stress of morning routines by preparing the night before when you have the time to teach them how to plan for their day. Preparation is an excellent skill because it can help your child avoid the chaos and stress of not having things when they need them.


Young children take some time to learn, so it is important to have patience and manage expectations when your child takes on new responsibilities and tasks. It may be a while before your little helper can take care of himself or herself, but with repetition and practice, your preschooler can develop independence that will prepare them for future challenges.