It is from an early age that you must teach your children to be independent. We must, therefore, encourage the autonomy of children. By doing so, you help them prepare for their future, enter the workforce and contribute to their psychological development.
The development of personal autonomy is a priority goal in the education of a child. An autonomous child is one who is able to perform the tasks and activities of children of his age and his socio-cultural environment. By encouraging children’s autonomy, you try to instill in them the meaning of work, not laziness.
A child who is not independent is a dependent child, in need of ongoing support, with little initiative, overprotected.
Children with little autonomy usually have learning and relationship problems with others. Hence the importance of their development: normally, as they progress in this aspect, they do so in their learning and their relationship with others.
Autonomy allows a child to cope on a daily basis, to become more and more independent, and to make his own decisions. The need for autonomy evolves throughout childhood and adolescence. To become autonomous is to gradually acquire a form of control over oneself and one’s life. It is an essential element of self-confidence.
Autonomy develops in many spheres of life. It affects physical skills, thinking, acquiring knowledge, interacting with others, managing emotions, and distinguishing between good and bad.
The First Years of Life Are the Most Crucial for Developing the Autonomy of Children
Promoting autonomy from the first years of life is the basis of learning. This makes children more confident in themselves and their abilities while learning to take risks and evaluate their chances of success. On the other hand, a dependent child needs ongoing help and has little initiative, usually has learning and relationship problems with others.
Helping children become more self-reliant is a relatively straightforward task as it allows them to make decisions and take on responsibilities. It’s not about great feats, but rather age-appropriate skills and tasks like picking up, ordering, eating alone, preparing your backpack …
A Child Can Do Many Things on His Own
As a general rule, anything the child can do alone, as long as it does not cause danger, must do it himself. Inculcate to the child from an early age the spirit of responsibility and maturity.
Most children work very well with routines, so it’s best to make these routines routine. With good practice, habits are acquired from 20 to 30 days.
Learning to become autonomous also means learning to become responsible, that is, being able to make the right decisions alone.
By becoming autonomous, the child also acquires a sense of importance and belonging: he is able to contribute to family life and feels at home in this first “social group” to which he belongs.
One must begin to instill skills and habits of autonomy in children from the age of 2 (first phase) and continue until the age of 6 (second phase). These two phases are important bases for the autonomy and independence of the child.
Stimulate the Independence and the Autonomy of Children from 2 to 3 Years
The child grows up and becomes more independent and autonomous. Although now he is still small, he is already recovering his space and wants to do many things on his own, without the help of anyone.
We begin to notice this process around 18 months when the child begins to say “me all alone, not you”. These imperious desires to fend for themselves are even greater, and we must respect them, let them try to do things for themselves. Help them in the necessary and teach them the steps to follow, but stimulating and encouraging their autonomy. Very early, the toddler is very eager (and even needed) to do a lot of things alone.
Overprotecting them, doing things for them that they already know how to do, leads to the insecurity of the child, who feels that he is not capable enough to do it alone and gets used to what parents continue to feed, dress, and wash him.
It is important that they are encouraged and allowed to cope, by encouraging them to practice these newly acquired skills.
It must also be admitted that these desires for independence and autonomy generate at the same time part of their crises and their first frustrations. But when they succeed in doing something for themselves, they feel very satisfied, they feel empowered and perfectly able to do what they have proposed, they also like to discover their new skills. It is a way for the child to affirm his individuality.
His ability to be autonomous grows as he becomes aware of being a person in his own right.
If you do not encourage your child to be independent, you make him an overprotected child. And, usually overprotected children:
– They learn to be dependent on their parents,
– They are more frightened,
– They show immature attitudes,
– They have little tolerance for frustration,
– They tend to be shy and withdrawn,
– They have low self-esteem,
– They and therefore they are usually children with few friends.
– They become more and more capricious and whiners
– They become more and lazier…
What Is a Child Overprotected?
An overprotected child is one whose parents continue to do everything when the child is perfectly capable of doing it alone, for example:
– They continue to feed him,
– They continue to dress and put it on,
– They continue to accompany him to the toilet.
The Physical and Psychological Development of the Autonomy of Children from 3 to 6 Years
The stage of children 3-6 years old is a period of great advances in physical development, growth, and motor coordination. He left behind the most vulnerable period and increased his physical strength and ability to develop dissimilar activities and cope with illnesses.
Early childhood is the period up to 6 years of life and is considered the stage where the individual reaches his greatest achievements. And the skills that children show are seen as indicators of their physical and psychological development. They are manifested in the way they play, learn, speak, behave and move.
The maturation of the child’s nervous system does not only mean going through biologically predetermined stages. Adults, with their intelligent and committed involvement, can strengthen their motor, intellectual and manual skills.
The child, by nature, becomes very agitated and attentive to all environmental stimuli. Everything is new to them. Contact with the environment around them will shape their personality and their way of thinking and acting.
Indicators of physical and psychological development in children between 3 and 6 years
– Psychomotor Development
One of the indicators of physical and psychological development is psychomotor, which allows the child to move in all dimensions, to acquire full awareness of his body and to cultivate his motor skills.
– Fine Motor Skills
In the brain, the areas that mature most obviously are those related to fine motor skills. These are responsible for separately controlling the smaller muscle groups, providing the body with new abilities in its physical and psychological development.
At age 3 the child begins to make vertical, horizontal, or circular strokes. At first, tall and hesitant, but gradually it will make them shorter and more precise, marking the beginning of the learning of writing. He will be able to copy a circle, cut with scissors, brush his teeth, get dressed, undress, button and undo buttons without any help.
At age 4, he can draw a square, fold paper, and color simple shapes, use scissors to cut straight, and handle the cutlery well.
Between the ages of 5 and 6, physical and psychological development translates into greater capacities: spreading with a knife, drawing triangles, stars, and diamonds, and drawing a complete human body in two dimensions.
– Cognitive Skills
The child’s ability to learn and understand demonstrates his or her cognitive abilities, being one of the most interesting indicators of physical and psychological development.
– Language Development
Learning the meaning of words depends to a large extent on adults who are in charge of children. The association of names with objects, telling stories, teaching them books and drawings, imitating sounds, and singing songs should be encouraged.
It is very important, moreover, to teach them to pronounce correctly the words and basic rules of education: greet, say goodbye, and do not interrupt, among others. These are some of the strategies that will improve language in their physical and psychological development.
– Emotional and Social Behavior
Before the age of 2, social relationships revolve around the family, but then a stage begins where the extra family link needs to be strengthened.
Children, in general, transfer their behavior at home to the social environment as part of their physical and psychological development, and, unfortunately, it is common to observe angry and aggressive behaviors that denote the inadequate relationship between the child and the family.
They must consider it normal to test their physical, behavioral, and emotional limits, but this requires parents to establish disciplinary rules and a safe environment. This should be linked to the development of initiative, curiosity, the desire to explore and enjoy – without feeling guilty or inhibited – but they should not be allowed to act freely.
– Intellectual Development
This step is known as a pre-operational period or virtual and intuitive intelligence, where the child is immersed in a world of physical objects with which he interacts and people with whom he is in a relationship.
Its development is fundamentally directed by the formation of mental symbols, that is to say, it does not take the object for what it is but for what it represents, like drawing an animal that does not see, imitates a car, and pretends to eat on an empty plate. Added to this are the language and the sounds. His attention will gain control, adaptation, and planning capacity.
Play will continue to be a primary activity in the physical and psychological development of children, providing the ideal means of stimulating language, memory, reasoning, planning, and creativity. The child’s learning potential should not be underestimated, but the deployment of all his abilities should be encouraged.
– Personality Development
This pre-school stage is crucial for the development of the personality. Depending on the family context and how the wishes and behaviors of the child are treated, a balanced, self-reliant, self-conscious, self-esteemed individual will depend on it. For a child to be valued he must feel valued and the appropriate emotional education is fundamental to developing an adequate personality.
It is normal that they openly express their feelings and emotions, but they must learn to control themselves and to behave within the allowed limits. Inevitably, they will face challenges and adults have an obligation to prepare them at these times.
The toddler experiences real emotional storms due to the immaturity of his prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that regulates emotions. But the adult can, by its benevolent accompaniment, help this prefrontal cortex to mature more quickly or, by inappropriate behaviors, delay this maturation.
– Physical Activity
Physical activity should be encouraged in children aged 3 to 6 years. Their great energy and stamina should be channeled to outdoor activities. This is a very important step in the development of their motor skills, coordination, and their ability to play and perform sports activities more stably.
The outdoor games and the practice of any sport will prevent overweight and give them an essential daily routine. With them, he develops motor skills and improves coordination.
Their safety is of great importance and we must select reliable physical activities and use appropriate means of protection for each activity and age. Based on the above, it is advisable to promote the development of physical activities with the family, so that they have fun while enjoying an unforgettable family moment.