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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I notice my almost 6 y.o. craving independence more and more. He wants to go to the bathroom by himself when we are out, sit in the van sometimes when I go in stores, walk by himself to the car(not holding hands)- at coop he gets upset if I stay in the room w/ him as he wants to be by himself. I try to accomodate all those wishes that I can- I don't let him walk across the WalMart parking lot by himself, but the library- yes. I let him go to the br by himself if it is one stall or I know noone is in there. However, I still feel he wants more- ideas of how to give that to him? What kind of things to you let your child that age do by themselves. He already bathes by himself and has for a while and plays outside as well. Thoughts from parents who have went through this stage?
 

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My ds1 is 6, too. He's in the same boat. He likes to do some cooking by himself. He makes simple things really on his own (fruit salad, pudding), and things that you actually have to "cook" we supervise a little more.<br><br>
Also letting him pay for things at the store. If there's a long line, I don't do that, out of respect for the people behind us and how much longer it can take. But especially if he's saved his money for something, he likes to pay for it.<br><br>
He has jobs he does around the house - mostly sporadically - but he doesn't consider those independent/fun activities. LOL But he does feed the cat, and wipe the table after we eat.<br><br>
Maybe responsibility for a plant - or an area in a garden?<br><br>
Ask him what things he'd like to do, and discuss the safety issues/your concerns. I tend to hover ... so giving him freedom is a challenge to me. LOL Good luck!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I have a newly 7-year-old who is similar. She is my fourth, so I'm pretty relaxed about giving her independence and responsibility in a way I wouldn't have when I was younger and more uptight. She also has a lot of models of independence in her older siblings, so her desire for equal competence is very strong. She walks the dog. She will enter a familiar café alone, order her own drink, pay for it and meet me again out front. She grocery shops with me every week and I ask her to do make a lot of the choices for me -- for instance, she is the one who checks the prices on the various deli hams, approaches the counter and requests 200 grams of rosemary ham. I'll ask her to decide which cheddar cheese is the best deal and put it in the cart. She can return to the bulk food aisle, find the decaf earl grey teabags, put a bunch in a medium sized bag, label it and join me again at the ends of aisle 6. She orders her own meals in restaurants. We have rural postal delivery; she enters the post office, finds the right box, opens it, checks through the mail, retrieves any parcel notices, goes to the wicket and picks up any parcels, then returns to the van out front where I am waiting.<br><br>
(Before I get jumped all over for stranger danger I should mention that I've made some very careful choices based on where we live, where I wait, where we shop and what contingency plans I have in place, so please, no lectures.)<br><br>
Recently she also loves attending her own lessons and classes without me so I usually drop her off and run errands. She practices violin and piano on her own half the time, making up her own practice plan and following it. We are a consensual-living family and she makes her own decisions about bedtimes, showers, snacks and the like. She creates her own schedule for academics each day. She lays and lights fires in the wood stove. She splits kindling, she grows her own 16-square-foot garden. She does a lot of household chores entirely by herself including stuff like laundry and baking familiar recipes. She answers the phone, takes messages and calls people we know on my request to give them organizational messages about various things.<br><br>
Just some ideas.<br><br>
Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the thoughts. I feel I give him fair amt of independence for his age, however there must be something going on from the way he is acting. I am the opposite of hover mom generally. I love the ideas here I think I will be talking to him and see what he thinks he is ready for in terms of independence and responsibility.
 

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Like Miranda, it's my youngest who is 6, we live in a fairly safe place where I know my neighbours well, and and so I am quite relaxed and she has lots of freedoms.<br><br>
I think the push for independence at that age is driven by the need to feel confident and capable as well as responsible and so we try to incorporate both of those elements as we give our kids their independence. For my 6 y/o it means she will often do little errands for me - to the mailbox around the corner, to deliver something to a neighbour on our street etc. She has chores that include animal care and some cleaning/household tasks that she alone is responsible for. I let her jump out of the van to drop books in at the library drop box - that sort of thing. We are doing a community garden space this year and each of the kids will be having a small part of the plot to tend to on their own.<br>
She often gets to be "independent" with her siblings. Together they go to the large park a block from us, or the school. Or they will walk to the bakery down the street together to buy bread for dinner. Do you have an older friend or niece/nephew who could help faciliate some independence?<br><br>
Good luck<br>
Karen
 

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I find this to be easier with homeschooling than in the public school system, in a weird way. In school, kids can have a lot of independence in terms of taking the bus by themselves and in handling social situations on the playground (which is not always to their benefit, developmentally speaking), but in almost every other way, because of the logistics of managing a large group of children with only one or two adults, they lose the chance to make choices and do things of their own volition.<br><br>
My daughter (5) is rather independent-minded and has been for some time. I started following her lead as a toddler in choosing activities that she wanted to do -- storytime at the library, co-op classes that I hadn't thought about signing her up for until she was older, etc. At 5, she plays in the backyard by herself or with her younger brother for hours, she helps him do things like tie his shoes and find books to look at, she takes classes and activities by herself and works with me to choose her classes and activities, she walks without holding my hand unless she's done something that causes me to pull back that privilege for a bit (like acting wild and crazy near a busy intersection). Both kids help with meal planning and grocery shopping and have input on the clothes and shoes we buy for them, the books we get, movies we watch, etc. I frequently work in my home office and let them play in their room or the living room without me right on top of them.<br><br>
I balance my need to protect her with her need to develop her independence and personality on her own. She does have an epipen for severe allergies, so I need to be onsite and fairly close while she's doing classes and activities. She doesn't need to know that, though. I can see them from the window while they're playing outside. The co-op I chose where we take homeschool classes has a good set-up for both kids, with a grassy field where ds can do his thing while dd is in classes -- which I can reach at a dead run in under a minute if she ever needs her epipen.<br><br>
I do the same thing with ds (almost 4). He has sensory issues and can find some situations overwhelming. He doesn't need to know that I pre-choose some of our activities with that in mind before giving him the choices I am willing to offer. And he doesn't need to know that I sometimes stay close because I know he's having a rough day or that there are a lot of triggers present. He sees me sitting on the sidelines with my head in a book and he feels like he's got the space and independence he wants. At the same time, I'm paying attention and can jump in if I'm needed, but I'm not right on top of him and preventing him from reaching the goals, skills, and confidence he's aiming for.
 

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I am very keen on fostering independence in the kids. My ds (turned 7 in March) is very independent. He is allowed to use the men's room by himself in places that we both feel comfortable. I can drop him off in front of the art gallery and trust that he will make his way down to the basement where they hold the classes. I can send him into a pizza parlour with money for him to pick up an order. I can wait in the car while he runs books into the library. He is allowed to play our front, by himself with his friends (we live in a townhouse complex) so long as I can find him when I pop outside. I can send him to the recycle bins on his own. He tells a server his order when we are out in a restaurant. And probably more that I can't think of offhand.<br><br>
We have worked hard to get to this point. He has been earning his freedom for a while. I have found this easier to do as a homeschooler. For example, ds uses public rest rooms on his own. Yesterday he did so in a popular museum in a large city. It wasn't that busy because it was as weekday morning. There weren't that many people milling about. Ds knows there are rules that he must follow to be allowed to continue these freedoms. Many times he has been able to practice certain scenarios in less busy areas because we are there off-hours. By the time a similar situation pops up in a busier place, we are both more comfortable with each other's expectations.<br><br>
I find my dks have more freedom for independence than many of our schooled friends. This is a comfort thing more than a homeschooling/schooled kid thing. I give my kids a little room, for things I feel are age appropriate and they know my expectations. They build up from there. Rarely does my dd (4) hold my hand in a parking lot but I know she will stick with me. A verbal reminder will suffice if she forgets to stay with me. They value their freedom so much that they act quite responsibly.<br><br>
The hardest part was dealing with my own fears.
 
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