Kindergarten Readiness & Early Learning Basics: Independence

Parents and caregivers often ask what young children need to know before kindergarten; this is the seventh in a series of blog posts on kindergarten readiness and early learning basics. No matter the age of your little one, this will give you a general picture of what to do as your child’s very first teacher.

I wonder if parents in the animal kingdom are at all anxious as their offspring begin to go off on their own? All parents need to teach their young to be independent. For children there are two major steps to being independent: being able to separate from parents and caregivers for some period of time and being able to handle bathroom needs.
Boy holding onto his mother
Separating from parents or caregivers can be a big deal. Some kids are so comfortable with the issue that it’s the parents that feel sad. For others, this may be a major concern. Most children can at least cope with with planned, brief times without a parent or primary caregiver but someone familiar helps. Sometimes, children will be quite content and independent at daycare for most of the day, but nap-time can be more of a challenge and lonely time for them.

For children with minor separating challenges, joining a community program, parks and recreation activities, or library story hour may be helpful to encourage separating skills. Some practice time and familiarization may be all that is needed as your child goes from baby steps of separation to bigger ones such as being at daycare, preschool or kindergarten.

The issue of bathroom needs takes more time. It can range from being fairly straightforward to a much bigger challenge. The good news is that parents and caregivers have a couple of years to work on it at home, or was that the bad news? Being able to handle most articles of clothing and buttons, zippers, and shoes is also helpful.

Self-care and separation are certainly not academics but they are concerns for children’s comfort and confidence when it comes to kindergarten readiness, early learning and basic independence. How do you deal with these issues for your child?

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