Call me lazy if you want, but I’ve always been hell-bent on getting my kids to do things for themselves. It feels right to me to encourage them to meet their own needs now that they’re older.

What’s more, they have the ability.

I think there’s a question in the two-year review: does your child drag a chair or step over to reach an object out of reach? And I could certainly answer: yes they do! Especially if it’s a sharp knife, pair of scissors or a chocolate egg I’m saving for later. Always after the embargoed…

Sometimes it’s about how you set up the house. Keeping things in reach isn’t ideal when they’re really little as it works simply as an invitation for chaos, but as they’re getting older, I feel I can offer a bit more trust and start to harness the natural scallywag resourcefulness within.

Here are some of the ways I encourage independence with our three who are aged 6, 4 & 3:

If you’re going to scream at me about what spoon you’ve got, feel free to go and seek the one you want from the drawer.

If you’re thirsty, grab a cup from the cupboard (kids’ melamine stuff is in a low cupboard) and get some water for yourself from the water jug. If you can’t reach the jug in the fridge, I’ll help you.

If you want a different pair of socks, dig around in the sock basket (I keep all the kids’ socks in a giant basket in the kitchen) for the ones you’re happier with.

If you’re cold, grab a jumper off the coat hooks. (We have a coat hook at child-height in the kitchen)

The paper and pencils are on a low shelf whenever you want to draw (preferably not on the walls, thank you!!!).

etc etc

What do you do to encourage independence? I wish I had a better system for getting them dressed in the morning, so comments on that too please!