As parents, it’s our job to teach our children independence. From a young age, it’s important that they develop the skills to stand on their own two feet and embrace the world. But how can parents build their children’s independence? The key is helping them develop confidence and understanding the role that hobbies can play in building independence.
Why developing confidence is important for children
Developing confidence from a young age is important. It helps children deal with the challenges that come their way (good and bad), believe in their own abilities, and achieve their goals. Building confidence helps children try new things, learn from experiences, and be independent. On a social level, it helps them to interact with other people and build healthy, lasting relationships.
Nurturing our children’s confidence is an important part of being a parent. You can do this by explaining that skills develop with practice, encouraging them to try again when they fail, offering positive reinforcement for small and big successes, and helping them set and achieve realistic goals. It’s important that your children not only feel confident in what they’re doing, but how they feel about themselves. Having healthy self-esteem will help them better deal with life’s challenges and frustrations, cope with strong emotions, and keep their confidence intact.
Encouraging your children to pursue hobbies
Some children love painting, while others like reading books. Some children love kicking a ball around, while others will dance at any opportunity. Whatever interests or talents your children have, it’s up to you to detect these and help develop them into hobbies. Why? Because having hobbies helps children develop physically and mentally. It gives them a reason to use their time effectively, helps build confidence and self-esteem, boosts their creativity, and develops their social skills. The benefits are endless.
According to the Australian Active Kids Report, Australian parents estimate their children spend an average of 10.3 hours outside every week playing sport or being active during summer. However, 42% of parents believe not getting enough time outside will lead them to not having a sense of independence. So what can you do to help encourage your children to pursue hobbies?
Firstly, help them identify their hobbies. If they like showing you all the things they’ve found outside, perhaps introducing them to collecting will be a good start. Get them involved in games and family activities to see if they take a liking to anything, or show a natural ability. Talk to your child’s school teachers about what their skills and interests are. The more you observe, listen and gain insight, the better you’ll be able to lead them in the right direction.
After you’ve found a hobby they’re willing to pursue, make sure you allocate time for it and provide the right space and equipment for them to flourish. To help build their confidence and stick with it, encourage them every step of the way, and be prepared to take it to the next level.
This could mean driving them to sporting events, cheering from the sideline, participating in the initial stages, and giving them plenty of positive reinforcement. You need to support them through the wins, the losses and the failures, without being overbearing or putting unnecessary pressure on them.
Keep in mind that your children’s interest in certain hobbies will fade, or not develop into something bigger. This is normal. Just don’t give up! There are so many potential hobbies out there, so try and expose your children to as many different areas as possible.
We want to see our children succeed in their lives, so taking the steps to build their independence now goes a long way to setting them on their own journey.
Tatiana Day is a dedicated mum of three beautiful children who keep her on her toes! As Head of Corporate Affairs at Real Insurance and with a background in PR and journalism across Financial Services she is keenly interested in the evolving life of the modern Australian family and the pressures put on it. When she can find some downtime, Tatiana enjoys cooking, music and breathing in the great outdoors
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