How do we teach our children independence? How do we define “independence”? Independence is usually defined differently by each parent based on their child’s abilities and stage of development. You probably would not expect a pre-school age child to cook themselves breakfast, however it is possible that you might expect your older teenager or young adult to be able to make a simple meal.
So, with all of the expectations that we have for our children, what can we do to prevent us from getting into the dreaded nagging mode… asking over and over for something to be done or having to remind our children of every little step of every routine? A lot of a child’s success can depend on their learning style since children have different ways that they learn best. Some are visual- they need to see information in print or picture form to remember it. Others are more auditory- they memorize information that they hear (think of that kid that knows the word to every song after only hearing it a couple of times). Many children use both visual and auditory input to learn new information.
Using task-analysis (breaking down the task into small, manageable steps) can be a great way to support your child towards independence. You have likely used this strategy without realizing it. Each time we break down a task into steps we are performing a task-analysis. Putting these steps into a format that the child can view and complete at their own pace (either on paper or electronically using an app) can help build independence when learning new skills as well as to practice daily routines. This strategy can be used with all kinds of routines from hygiene activities such as brushing teeth to school activities and job skills. It is even used to remind children of the daily schedule– a visual schedule is actually a task analysis of what the day will look like.
We, at BridgingApps, decided to take a look at some apps for task analysis, breaking down which ones might work best at various stages of development. Check out the full Parenting Special Needs article for some fun ways to support your child towards independence.