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Ideas for fostering independence


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#1 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 22 October 2019 - 09:49 AM

Hi all I was just thinking about some of the things I can do to teach my nearly 9yo some independence. Due to us living just off a busy road and being too far to walk to school thats not going to be happening so Ive come up with some other ideas

-teach how to use sharp knife for cutting
-teach our address and phone numbers and how to call emergency services (they knew this a while ago from school)
-teach how to use email and internet safety
-teach how to use a microwave safely
-teach how to run hot water (bath / shower)
-teach how to use a kettle safely
-teach how to light a match / candle and put out
-allow to go into a shop and purchase items with me waiting at the front
-allow to go into library and borrow own books with me waiting at the front

Id love to hear other suggestions of what sort of things people are teaching their children and what a kid this age should know.

This isn't to say I will let her use the microwave unsupervised just yet either, I will still be in the room for these things.

#2 seayork2002

Posted 22 October 2019 - 09:53 AM

We are trying to get DS12 more independent but I don't have any additional tips to add other than helping more around the place?

Next year DS is going to be putting the dishes away each day and dusting.

We did the shop thing before but not consistently so are going to start that again

He can walk to school himself as we live opposite.

He is at scouts and is fine there (and with other people) but turns back to a 'baby' when he is with us.

#3 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 22 October 2019 - 09:57 AM

View Postseayork2002, on 22 October 2019 - 09:53 AM, said:

We are trying to get DS12 more independent but I don't have any additional tips to add other than helping more around the place?

Next year DS is going to be putting the dishes away each day and dusting.

Helping out more is an excellent idea actually :)
I am trying to get her to help with cooking more. I also have a 6yo so she has to do something to help so that its 'fair' LOL

#4 seayork2002

Posted 22 October 2019 - 10:00 AM

View PostWannabeMasterchef, on 22 October 2019 - 09:57 AM, said:

Helping out more is an excellent idea actually Posted Image
I am trying to get her to help with cooking more. I also have a 6yo so she has to do something to help so that its 'fair' LOL

Yeah we had DS cooking a while ago it was actually part of his homework which is what made us to do it so thanks for the reminder!

We started him off with Spaghetti bolognaise and he does a good chicken schnitzel

#5 sophiasmum

Posted 22 October 2019 - 10:08 AM

My DD is year 5 & turned 11 earlier this month:

-teach how to use sharp knife for cutting - she has been making her school lunch bag by herself since last year so can do this

-teach our address and phone numbers and how to call emergency services (they knew this a while ago from school) - I wrote this info on the inside of her lunch bag so it's always on hand

-teach how to use email and internet safety - learnt in school, does at home for researching assignments

-teach how to use a microwave safely - has been doing so for a couple years

-teach how to run hot water (bath / shower) - never runs a bath but showers by herself every night for many years

-teach how to use a kettle safely - I would not trust her yet to pour hot water or boil a pot on the stove, nor is she confident enough to want to do it

-teach how to light a match / candle and put out - hard no from me

-allow to go into a shop and purchase items with me waiting at the front - I have sent her to the shops 15 min walk from our house by herself for an urgent item since this year

-allow to go into library and borrow own books with me waiting at the front - I have sent her to the library 15 min walk from our house by herself to look for a book since this year

Edit: She has been doing chores for pocket money for a few years also. Mainly unpack the dishwasher in the mornings before school & take the washing off the line & distribute in the afternoons. For the last 2 years she leaves the house on her own, walks 10 mins to school, lets herself in after school & waits for everyone to start coming home.

Edited by sophiasmum, 22 October 2019 - 10:11 AM.


#6 Datrys

Posted 22 October 2019 - 10:13 AM

Learning to use public transport?  Plan a trip, buy a ticket, even if you're going with them?

#7 Murderino

Posted 22 October 2019 - 10:14 AM

My two do all of that except matches and email/internet - mine use a BBQ lighter though instead of matches.

My 10 and 8 year olds make my coffee and their hot chocolates - they think it’s a great to be allowed, it’s great.

They’ve made their own lunch since oldest was in grade 2.

They help with dinner and the 8 year is an excellent cook while the 10 year old is a great baker.

#8 jayskette

Posted 22 October 2019 - 10:16 AM

I did all that before 9... :/ except the internet part

Edited by jayskette, 22 October 2019 - 10:17 AM.


#9 seayork2002

Posted 22 October 2019 - 10:19 AM

View Postjayskette, on 22 October 2019 - 10:16 AM, said:

I did all that before 9... :/ except the internet part

so did I but that does not really help the OP!

#10 Weavile

Posted 22 October 2019 - 10:27 AM

Have them set up with a bank account and teach them how to pay for transaction by card/remember a pin.

I'm in a small town so it is different, but DS walks to the shops, school and library himself on occasion, he has his own not-smart mobile which he knows how to use. He will be getting his own house key soon as well.

Edited by Weavile, 22 October 2019 - 10:29 AM.


#11 mayahlb

Posted 22 October 2019 - 10:34 AM

My kids are already doing most of these things. Other things to think of:

Knowing how to make simple meals. Mine started around 8-9 with being responsible with 1 meal a week. I "supervise" in the kitchen calling out reminders on what to do. Mostly it's things like tacos/spag bol/other pasta/home made pizza. My youngest also gets a box cake every other week if he's been well behaved and they make that with minimal supervision.

Chores: Mine are responsible for washing and hanging out their own school clothes. They also run a load of towels once a week. My MIL thinks I'm a too strict expecting this, but considering her adult son can barely achieve this skill, I've started early with mine. They also know how to vacuum, clean a toilet, pack a dishwasher (the dishwasher is actually their responsibility). I of course have to remind them about all of this, and occasionally nag, but meh.

They make their own school lunches. I haven't had anything to do with that except buy the ingredients for the last 18 months. They add anything they need ingredient wise to a list on the fridge.

Using a phone is a work in progress, but they can use an idevice to "ring" or message me, grandma, my dad etc.

If we had public transport, they would be learning how to use that independently. I think this is a really important skill. Especially the whole planning out, making sure you are running on time, knowing when to get off etc. Mine catch a school bus but it's literally pick up from home, get to school and then the opposite.

'Course mine also have ADHD so all of that requires constant scaffolding, reminders etc. Hence why we started young so hopefully by the time they are adults they have been doing this for so many years they know how to do it.

#12 JoanJett

Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:32 AM

The key is consistency and allowing things to be their best, not your best.  Step by step for some of the more tricky tasks is a good approach.  Showing multiple safety stops for knives is important.  Checklists can be helpful to build automaticity for daily tasks.  I have one child with ADHD who could be "expected" to do less, but he has the same responsibilities.

Mine (8 and 10) have done pretty much all the things on your list since 7 at the latest, many tasks much earlier, apart from matches, as they are both quite fire phobic.  

The other things mine do
- walk to the park together
- walk to school for one (1.7km), walk to catch a bus (1km) for the other.  As you've said school is too far, set another goal.  Sometimes busy roads are actually safer if there are designated crossings.  Neither have a phone.  They both know my number and also have a card with both of our names and numbers printed.  
- separate their laundry and do loads of washing.  Neither can reach the line to hang out, but they put away all their clothes once they are ironed.
- clean and vacuum their playroom
- clean their bathroom, but it's "their clean" not "my clean"
- make lunch
- assist with dinner preparation
- slowly learning to iron
- basic sewing, so that they can replace a button
- load, start and clear the dishwasher


I don't frame housework as "chores", because it's basic self care and contributing to family life.  They often whinge and whine, I often nag, but I am particularly mindful that I am raising "future men" and learned helplessness can be real.

#13 JoanJett

Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:43 AM

View PostWeavile, on 22 October 2019 - 10:27 AM, said:

Have them set up with a bank account and teach them how to pay for transaction by card/remember a pin.

I'm in a small town so it is different, but DS walks to the shops, school and library himself on occasion, he has his own not-smart mobile which he knows how to use. He will be getting his own house key soon as well.

The only problem with the card transaction is that most banks won't allow a debit card until at least 12, some older.  But it's definitely on the list for the early teens.

Internet banking/paying bills online is the other skill - much more important nowadays than having a passbook account and visiting a bank.

#14 amdirel

Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:58 AM

My goals are for them to share the thought load, as well as knowing how to do things.

For eg.

Get them an alarm clock that they have to set and wake up to by themselves. Then they wake up and have to get breakfast and pack their lunch on their own. If there are days they change their wake up time then they should be able to remember to think of that themselves eg school band in the morning.

Get them to do a load of washing when they need uniforms washed, but try and prompt them to do it of their own accord when they *realise* they're out of uniforms. (We're still working on that part!).

Get them to cook a meal regularly. They had to look through recipes, choose one, write a shopping list. Then we cooked it together, and repeated that meal until they were confident to do it on their own.

Learning public transport is a good one too.

#15 Weavile

Posted 22 October 2019 - 12:04 PM

View PostJoanJett, on 22 October 2019 - 11:43 AM, said:

The only problem with the card transaction is that most banks won't allow a debit card until at least 12, some older.  But it's definitely on the list for the early teens.

Internet banking/paying bills online is the other skill - much more important nowadays than having a passbook account and visiting a bank.

Commbank does them for 9+, but younger kids can still get standard bank cards, they just wont work for online/contractless transactions.

#16 mayahlb

Posted 22 October 2019 - 12:06 PM

View PostJoanJett, on 22 October 2019 - 11:32 AM, said:

I don't frame housework as "chores", because it's basic self care and contributing to family life.  They often whinge and whine, I often nag, but I am particularly mindful that I am raising "future men" and learned helplessness can be real.

Yes this is true. I don't call my kids chores chores at home. They are helping contribute to the functioning of the family. And I look at them trying their best. Sure it might not be to the level I would expect, but they are learning and helping/ And it's only through practice that things improve. I often have to explain, or we brainstorm how to tackle something so that next time they do it, it is done better. Sometimes, it's being aware that doing hings MY way don't work for my kids, but them coming up with an alternative way that lets them break down the task often results in them being more likely to do something. (One kid has pictures of the different ways the dishwasher could be stacked for example, because he didn't want to get it wrong. We had to explicitly explain how to vaccum a room).

On the bankcard thing, I have 2 cards for my account (plain commbank one). So they just take one. Usually the paywave one because a swipe only seems to be harder to use these days.

Edited by mayahlb, 22 October 2019 - 12:10 PM.


#17 spr_maiden

Posted 22 October 2019 - 12:23 PM

View PostWannabeMasterchef, on 22 October 2019 - 09:49 AM, said:


-teach how to use sharp knife for cutting✔
-teach our address and phone numbers and how to call emergency services (they knew this a while ago from school) ✔
-teach how to use email and internet safety (WORK IN PROGRESS ALWAYS)
-teach how to use a microwave safely✔
-teach how to run hot water (bath / shower)✔
-teach how to use a kettle safely✔
-teach how to light a match / candle and put out✔
-allow to go into a shop and purchase items with me waiting at the front✔
-allow to go into library and borrow own books with me waiting at the front


Ticked those we've done too. Haven't thought to do the library,  so thanks for the prompt 😊.
Others my similar aged child does:
Unpack dishwasher
Clothes away in drawers
Can hang washing on the line but it's difficult due to height limitation lol,  and if I ask him to take it off I usually loose a bunch of pegs scattered over the yard...
Clean out pet cage and restock their food and water, can also wash the pets but that's occasional
Iron school clothes
Cook a simple dinner
Wash the car
Vacuum (including under the lounge cushions)
Mop
He doesn't like to be home alone so not pushing that one.

More along fun lines,  because it reads like I work my children to the bone lol, DS likes to hammer and nail wood projects. I'm not keen on him using a saw or power tools yet but he often puts the offcuts of wood together into rough somethings.
He also enjoys gardening, raking, etc.  We just need to teach him where it's a good idea to plant things I.e. not the ground where we walk often lol.
It's lovely that he gets outside. Independence comes from the not directly helping him,  just loosely supervising.  He must clean up and put away when done.

Eta. He needs to know what things he needs when for school and to do practice.  This is harder than some of the physical stuff as his EF skills are not the best.

Edited by spr_maiden, 22 October 2019 - 12:29 PM.


#18 JoanJett

Posted 22 October 2019 - 12:34 PM

View PostWeavile, on 22 October 2019 - 12:04 PM, said:

Commbank does them for 9+, but younger kids can still get standard bank cards, they just wont work for online/contractless transactions.

Yet another way good old Commbank gets them in early....

Almost all others (not just the big 4) are 14-16.  A few are 12 for a "handy card" but 16 for debit MC.

My kids have used my card for contactless, but no way they'll know my pin ;)

For now, I still like them to shop with cash, as they need to check the charge is correct and double check their change.  Although, they'll probably live in a cashless society as adults.

#19 MsLaurie

Posted 22 October 2019 - 12:38 PM

9yos are super competent, and not yet hormonal contrary types, so it’s a great age to get them involved in really anything you’re routinely doing.
I help lead a girl guides group, and we expect 9yos to (with active supervision) cook on the stove or fire, light matches, use sharp knives, build things with large sticks and rope, use hammers and nails.
We’ve also had them at various points doing sewing (machine and by hand), doing dishes, sweeping, raking. 9yos are awesome.

#20 MarigoldMadge

Posted 22 October 2019 - 12:40 PM

My 10 yo does all those already so here are some extras.

She's in charge of her own clothes, from putting out furry ones, to sorting through clean laundry, folding, putting away, and picking each days clothjng. I only wash and hang - and that's because our line is too high etc

She menu plans (mostly - I have veto if it's too hard)

I drop her off at an increasing distance from school - that might help you - it doesn't need to be a full to and from.

She is charge of the dog - food, water, walking

The bins

Makes me breakfast one day a week.

Packs her own lunch

We take turns vacuuming

She has own debit card so she is responsible for her own gifts to her friends for birthdays etc and is learning about finances etc

Changes and remakes her own bedding weekly

Has her own veggie patch - thanks Woolworths, we'll see how that works.

Etc

#21 mm1981

Posted 22 October 2019 - 01:20 PM

My 9 year old does most things on your list (except the light a candle, I have never thought to do that)

Other things he does;

*Wakes himself up in the morning, gets breakfast for himself.  He is responsible for waking me 45 minutes before he has to leave (he is an early bird, me and the other kids are not)

*Makes his own lunch for school.

*walks to school by himself.  I know you said there is a busy road, but could you walk him over the busy road first?  Or drop him some distance from school?

*Will go to the local pizza shop to collect pizza for dinner. He is fine paying and collecting change. He used to go to the shop to get bread and milk each morning but we have since moved and the shop is not open as early here.

*Is responsible for 'tidying" the house (along with his brother and sister) every Friday afternoon before they get device time.  This basically is put away everything, make beds etc.

*Can cook simple meals like pancakes, scrambled eggs etc.

*Rides his bike around the neighbourhood by himself

*Makes me coffee (we have an espresso machine)

#22 Not Escapin Xmas

Posted 22 October 2019 - 01:25 PM

Spriggy is the answer! It's a debit card for your kids as young as 6. You can move money on/off their card, put a hold on the card, etc as you need to. There's an app for the parents and one for the kids. It's $30 per year per kid but I reckon that's a small price to pay to teach them about money. DD's pocket money goes into her Spriggy account each week.

View PostJoanJett, on 22 October 2019 - 11:43 AM, said:

The only problem with the card transaction is that most banks won't allow a debit card until at least 12, some older.  But it's definitely on the list for the early teens.

Internet banking/paying bills online is the other skill - much more important nowadays than having a passbook account and visiting a bank.

View PostJoanJett, on 22 October 2019 - 12:34 PM, said:

Yet another way good old Commbank gets them in early....

Almost all others (not just the big 4) are 14-16.  A few are 12 for a "handy card" but 16 for debit MC.

My kids have used my card for contactless, but no way they'll know my pin ;)

For now, I still like them to shop with cash, as they need to check the charge is correct and double check their change.  Although, they'll probably live in a cashless society as adults.


#23 MarigoldMadge

Posted 22 October 2019 - 01:35 PM

Yep DD has a spriggy account. She's got multiple saving goals set up, buys a smoothie on the way home on hot days etc

#24 mayahlb

Posted 22 October 2019 - 02:09 PM

I’m also fairly transparent with things like how we budget, how we plan out what to buy at the food shop, how much money is coming in and where it gets spent. It’s not so much an individual task but about creating an awareness of financial understanding. It’s something my mum did with me, so I do it with the kids. DH wouldn’t even know what the bank balance is and just spends money (drives me insane), but he didn’t really get taught any of this stuff as a kid either, despite the fact his father worked as a bank manager for most of the time he lived at home.

#25 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 22 October 2019 - 02:20 PM

DS (just turned 8) does most of the things in OPs list.  

He can cook simple things, but often misses a step (like forgetting more butter in the pan when making pancakes).

He's a practical little guy, so he can row and start an outboard and drive a dinghy on his own, to get an ice cream or coffee for the adults.  He can use a power drill safely.   He can change the batteries in anything of his and put the old ones in the charger.

He can pretty reliably pack his own suitcase for a trip, if we talk about it in advance (ie how many days, what activities).

I think camping trips are great for independence - its easier to let them cook if it's not your best stuff getting used.  And they can roam a bit further afield if there are no cars/main roads.    And they can wear the same stuff for days if they stuff up the packing.   There's often a little shop they can go to.




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