A 5-year-old is more independent than you give them credit for, and here is proof!
There is no shame in spending time with our children and helping them have the best life possible. However, there is a fine line between being an attentive parent and being what is known as a helicopter parent.
Children are often capable of far more than we give them credit for. I get frustrated when my 11-year-old can’t get ready for school. I, therefore, sometimes fall into the trap of doing it for him. Not too many generations ago, children of that age were working. In some parts of the world, they are surviving on the street. Although thankfully, neither of these is standard practice, it does show that often we underestimate what our children do.
The resilience and natural independence of children were reinforced to me by a TV in the UK called Planet Child. This is well worth a watch and a clip is here. It looks at what children do when parents aren’t around and the freedom of British children compared to others around the world. It was of particular interest to me as family in Germany talk about the comparative independence there compared to the UK. This article looks at parenting in different cultures and what we can learn from them.
The Story Of 5-Year-Olds Getting Across a City
Kieran Robinson and his cousin Rita were featured on the show back in April 2019. These two children, aged 5 and 6, were tasked with something that surprised many of the viewers. Despite not living in London, Kieran and his cousin were tasked with navigating the busy city alone. That’s right. Alone.
The children were asked to navigate from the Imperial War Museum and get themselves to the London Eye. They were told to take the bus to get them there and were left alone to find their way.
Rita and Kieran managed to achieve this rather momentous task (one that even adults would find a challenge) by asking for help from a stranger at the bus stop. However, they did find themselves distracted by the swings at a local park and stopped for a play before moving on to their end goal.
So, Why Should We Be Helping Our Children to Be Independent?
You might not be ready to let your children explore a city on their own, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t think about how you can encourage them to be more independent. There are different ways to do this, and we can promise you that encouraging independence is a vital part of parenting in the modern world. Here we talk about the steps to independence that we as parents can provide for our children.
A child who is taught independence will feel ready to face the world on their own. They will feel comfortable making important decisions themselves and considering the pros and cons of each possible outcome. There are, of course, some benefits to helicopter parenting, at least in parts. However, too intense parenting can have an impact on the child, not only in the short term but also in the long term. We have a duty to prepare them for life after leaving home, not just ensure that they get there safely. They will also feel that their parents and the adults in their lives trust them, which means that they will have a great sense of their worth and have higher self-esteem.
One of my favorite sayings is that we want our children to do more than survive, but thrive. Give them a chance to surprise you. Here we have a special article for helping your child understand the world of work.