Talking to a bunch of toddlers a few days ago about the struggle for Independence, I was narrating to them on how under the British Raj, we could not enter any restaurant and eat, or how we had so many rules and were not allowed so many things and had to take permissions for doing even the smallest of things. I was stunned when one of the kids told me, “India was just like us. Indians had to have permission to do everything just like we have to ask our parents for everything”. While it was a very matter-of-fact kinda comment, it got me thinking. That when I realized how much we are curbing our child’s freedom in the name of manners, etiquette, getting things done the right way or even because we don’t want others to judge us.
As we celebrate India’s 73rd Independence Day, I wonder what “Independence” means to a child and how important it is in their daily lives. Just how much we can help the individuality of our child develop, given a free hand to deal with suitable situations. Some easy ways to ensure they have their freedom are as below:
- Communicating with Children: Have a meaningful uninhibited conversation with your child and talk about many things. This will help them gain self-confidence. Ask about friendships and the activities that your child enjoys. Ask them about the best part and worst part of their day and tell them about yours. Let your child know that it’s OK to have and talk about anything. This will teach your child that it is normal have ups and downs.
- Give them Chores or involve your kids while doing chores. From a practical parenting perspective, it keeps your little one busy and makes the mundane tasks of everyday life a little more fun. Have to make breakfast and your toddler is clinging on, whining or just throwing a fit for no apparent reason. I don’t blame the kid. Mornings are not for everyone, that too in the rush to get to work on time while completing 500 other things. An effective way that has worked for me is to let him be a part of the process. Butter the bread, crack an egg or make small rotis. It won’t save you time, but it might just save your sanity before 8 a.m.
- Take your pick. Involving them in decision making with help give them the confidence they need to make their own decisions. Even simple things like picking a holiday destination, or a movie to watch and then taking up on their suggestion just to give them the confidence that their opinion matters
- Have patience. As parents, we want nothing but the best for our children. We often want to attend to their needs as quickly as we can; it’s how we express our love. Let them take a call, do their things even if it takes longer to finish or is not done in the exactly right way. However, it’s really important to give children the opportunity to become successful in life and to teach them independence
I know how every mother dreams that there will be a day in their lives when they will get to have their morning tea or coffee while it is still hot, pleasant mornings when you don’t have to raise your voice and the kids get themselves ready. I know it feels like a dream right now, but surely a time will come when your child is old enough and the independent spell will arrive and cast its magic. Hang on to that dream and hope your wish comes true.
Give the ones you love Wings to Fly, Roots to Come Back and Reasons to Stay!