Written by Ange Guinness, Early Childhood Educator at AISB
As a parent, one of your most important jobs is to help your child feel that they have control over their own lives. This important quality allow children to feel confident and they can have a lasting impact on their overall development and well-being.
What are autonomy and agency?
The ability of a child to take action and make decisions is referred to as "agency," whereas "autonomy" is the feeling of independence and self-sufficiency that comes from being in charge of one's own life. When children have a sense of agency and autonomy, they are more self-assured, motivated, and involved in the world.
Why is it essential for young children to develop autonomy and agency?
By giving children just the right amount of control over their lives we can help their:
- problem-solving skills,
- creativity and innovation,
- emotional control,
- and self-awareness
These skills and traits will help children throughout their lives and support them in growing into successful and happy adults.
How can parents encourage the growth of agency and autonomy in young children?
There are many things parents can do to help their young child develop agency and independence, such as:
- Encourage your child to do things independently, including dressing themselves, brushing their teeth, and putting away their toys.
- Give your child options and allow them to make decisions, such as what to wear or what to eat for a snack.
- Support your child in learning how to solve problems by encouraging them to find answers to simple problems and giving them praise when they do.
- Children can learn a great deal through play. You can support your child's interests and curiosities by providing opportunities for play and exploration.
- Teach your child healthy habits and routines, such as washing their hands and brushing their teeth, and encourage them to practice self-care.
- Encourage positive self-talk by modeling positive self-talk and encouraging your child to use positive language when talking to themselves.
- Give your child a sense of pride and self-confidence by noticing and complimenting their efforts, accomplishments, and strengths.
- In a safe and supportive environment, you can permit natural consequences, such as allowing children to experience the results of not putting away their toys.
Supporting the development of agency and autonomy in young children is a crucial aspect of parenting that can have long-lasting effects on their well-being and life success.
Parents can assist their children in acquiring the necessary skills and traits for success by encouraging independence, empowering children to solve problems, and providing opportunities for play and exploration.