how to raise independent kids

How to Raise an Independent Child: 13 Expert Tips to Self-Sufficient Kids

Last Updated on September 8, 2021.

Raising independent children is a goal that many parents have. But how do you go about doing so? There are many different factors involved in the process, and sometimes it can be hard to know where to begin. If you’re wondering how to raise an independent child, it starts with small habits. Below are 13 secrets that will help you raise self-sufficient kids!

What exactly is childhood independence?

Childhood independence is a sense of self and individuality that children need in order to grow into healthy adults. It’s about being confident, not cocky; it’s about taking risks without fear; it’s knowing how you feel but also learning how others feel too.

When a child feels independent, they can take charge of their life, which is how they’ll be able to lead an independent adult life.

Why are independent kids more successful? 

Independent kids are more successful because they have a sense of how their behaviors affect themselves and others; that means they can make good choices for the future. They know how to take care of themselves, which gives them confidence and independence in new situations.

RELATED: Self-Help Skills for Toddlers

13 Expert Secrets to Self-Sufficient Kids

Here are 13 expert secrets to launch your child’s journey to independence:

Give them chores

A very important step in how to raise an independent child is getting them involved with chores. Chores teach children how the world works and how they can contribute – which builds confidence and teaches responsibility.

Put them on kitchen duty

Learning kitchen skills is a huge part of raising an independent, self-sufficient child. Kids can learn how foods are prepared, store and inventory food items in the kitchen and even handle cooking for themselves!

Teach life skills early

Even the youngest toddlers can pair socks and wipe down their place at the dinner table. Make kids responsible for small tasks as early as possible. If they grow up knowing nothing other than independence and responsibility, they’re more likely to thrive.

Set up an accessible environment

Give kids the tools to be independent. Set up an accessible environment that puts everything they need at their fingertips (and everything that’s dangerous far out of reach). Place bowls and cups on a lower shelf so they can get their own drinks. Put snacks in a bin that’s low to the ground. Put a stool at the sink so they can wash their own hands and dishes.

Practice lazy parenting

This can be hard for parents to swallow, but it’s not a bad idea. Lazy parenting involves giving your child the opportunity to do things themselves. In other words, don’t do anything for them that they can do themselves. Let them handle it.

Always accept their “help” (even when it’s more work)

If children are eager to help, let them. Even if you have to offer some training or know that there will be extra work for you at the end, if you encourage this helper mentality, you’re going to raise a strong, independent child.

How to Raise an Independent Child
How to Raise an Independent Child

Encourage a helper mentality

Encourage kids to help wherever they can. Point out helpers in your family and in your community. Foster an environment where we cooperate (as opposed to competing).

For example, instead of saying “The first one to get their coat and shoes on will get an extra scoop of ice cream after dinner!” say, “If we can get all of our coats and shoes on in 3 minutes, we can have ice cream after dinner!” This will encourage kids to work together to achieve a common goal!

Foster a growth mindset

A growth mindset is the belief that anything is possible. When kids feel like they are capable of anything, they’ll be willing to try anything. It’s a great way to encourage independence.

Let them get bored

Boredom begets creativity. And the more creative kids are, the better they’ll be at problem-solving. This is how to raise an independent child – give them time and space for their own thoughts and ideas.

Encourage intrinsic motivation

Incentive-based parenting does not raise independent children. Research actually shows that rewards (including praise) result in kids wanting to do less for themselves. Instead, encourage their intrinsic motivation and they will be more self-sufficient.

Require reading daily

Reading is a great way to raise an independent child. Reading builds vocabulary and reading comprehension skills, but it also develops empathy, imagination and creativity – all of which are essential for raising children who can thrive without you.

Limit screen time

Kids get lost in screens. While screens aren’t all bad, they do create issues for kids. Be aware of how much time they’re spending on screens and how that impacts their interactions with the physical world. This is especially true if you allow them to access social media.


Let them make mistakes

Mistakes are nature’s teacher! Let your kids make mistakes and learn lessons for themselves. They’ll be more independent because of it.

The Bottom Line

We’ve covered 13 expert secrets for raising self-sufficient kids and the bottom line is that it takes patience and persistence to help kids find their independence. Help your kids start learning self-help skills today!

What You Should Do Next…

1. Snag Our Connected Parent Challenge

Are you ready for more activities to build a rock-solid bond with your kids? Try our Connected Parent Challenge! It’s 15 Days of 15 Minute activities that are sure to improve your connection, diminish bad behavior, and create lasting memories. Plus, I’ll deliver more amazing parenting strategies to your inbox weekly (don’t worry, unsubscribe any time!).

2. Join Our Free Online Community

Connect with like-minded moms (and dads!) in our free online community. You’ll find a plethora of resources to help you through your parenting challenges. Plus, you’ll find me there! And I’d love to connect.

3. Take a Free 60-Minute Parenting Webinar

Do you need actionable strategies right now? Register for this free 60-minute webinar titled How to Get Kids to Listen, Without Nagging, Yelling or Losing Control. You’ll walk away with parent-tested tactics to get your kids to listen starting today.

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