Developing Functional Independence in Children


All children have to learn skills that lend to their independence and autonomy. Developing  Functional Independence is a parent’s main duty. Educators can team with parents to support independence in their students by helping identifying a need and suggesting strategies that support self reliance in a child. Chores are a great way to introduce concepts of developing independence.

There are 5 questions I think you can ask that will help you as you decide how to handle the situations at home to promote independence.

  1. What things are really important to you as a family? If taking care of pets is really important and your child has a role in that, then as a family, that’s an important piece. But if no one else makes the bed in the family, for example, it may not be an important thing to expect of that child. This is what I mean by choosing what you’re going to do battle over.
  2. What things are really important to your child and their life? It may not be important to you that your child chooses their own TV programs in the evening. But for your child, it may be really important to do that. Or it may be very important for your six-year-old to pick out her own clothes. If these tasks give your child age appropriate independence, I say let them do it.
  3. Does the expectation contribute to the family or household? If your child has a responsibility to empty the dishwasher and that helps the next person who has to set the table, that’s a more important task than something that doesn’t have any connection to anyone else in the family.
  4. Can there be some give and take? Can there be a choice to do something similar but different? There may be something your child is more willing or able to do that might be more meaningful to the rest of the family. Remember, the goal is for your child to succeed at what he’s doing and to build on that success.
  5. Are there things you can do to help organize your child? Can you help structure that particular task or responsibility so that your child can be more successful? Setting it up so your child can more easily sort the recycling by having a designated area and special bins set up might do wonders to get the job done. Source



Great Video-How to Strengthen Your Parent-Child Bond

Young Children

Developmentally Appropriate Practice – Adaptive/Self-Help Skills

Developing Young Children’s Self-Regulation through Everyday Experiences

Developing children’s social and emotional skills

Child Development Principles and Theories

School Aged Children

10 Great Ways to Teach Children Responsibility

Parents told: ‘use chores to teach children basic skills’

How To: Teaching Life Skills Through Physical Education

Building Social and Emotional Skills in Elementary Students: Empathy

Across the Span Infancy to Adolescents

The ultimate guide to chores

Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence

Responsibility: Raising Children You Can Depend On

Parenting: Raise Independent Children Are you raising responsible or contingent children?

Special Education

Building Independence In Children with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism


Life Skills Activities, Worksheets, Printables, and Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans for Teaching Self-Determination

Activity Ideas-Based on Age


Erikson was keen to improve the way children and young people are taught and nurtured, and it would be appropriate for his ideas to be more widely known and used in day-to-day life. It is good to take stock in what should be accomplished at each stage of development to help keep expectations in perspective when parenting toward independence. Source


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