How I am Encouraging our Kids to Become More Independent

This post was created in partnership with Kleenex Brand.

child cleaning face nesting story

I think the first thing people say to me when I tell them a bit about myself is “wow, you must be busy!” The answer… yes, I am busy. Occasionally things in my world will get off of balance, either with a messy house or feeling like my daily to-do list is too long. I will remind myself that it might be time to help our kids along with becoming more independent, which helps me out and restores balance in our home.

But I have four kids, four personalities and four ages. Well, two of them are a minute apart, but our twins could not be more different. So how do I encourage each one to become more independent while making it easy, fun and appropriate for their stage? 

Here are five tips to help your kids become more independent, and make life a littler easier for you…

help kids become more independent with illustrated tasks - nesting story

1. Use reminders and tools to help. I use routine stickers around our house to help remind my four-year-old twins what to do, like brush their hair, or clean up clothes. We also have a list posted on our fridge to remind all four kids how they can help out. I also use tools to make things a little easier for our youngest like step stools. They will often move the step stools around our house to be able to reach everything just a little bit easier.

more independent kids can get their own snacks from a designated storage bin - nesting story

2. Create a self-serve snack container. Something I was finding that was a huge time suck was I was constantly getting our kids snacks. So, on days like PA days, I will create a schedule and include what time I have designated for snack time. But sometimes our kids get really hungry before it is snack time, so I decided to have healthy snacks on hand that they can get themselves. In our fridge there is a snack container that our kids can grab snacks to keep them fueled.

more independent kids can get  ready on their own - nesting story
quick and easy clean up for messy hands with Kleenex - nesting story

3. Keep Kleenex Gentle Clean Wet Wipes handy for cleanup. These have been a game changer for our family. They help with everything from our kids wiping toothpaste from their mouths, hands and sink, (instead of on our towels), to Play-Doh clean-up. I’m not hovering anymore worrying that our kids new found independence is leaving a trail of destruction in our home.

kids self serve meal - nesting story

4. Allow your kids to serve themselves at mealtime. This is something that I started doing a few years ago when I was dealing with some very picky eaters. Instead of dishing our kids food out for them, I allow each of our kids dish out their own portions. This in-turn not only increases their independence level, but they also try more foods, and eat larger portions. It all comes down to control and they are happy to have it.

teaching kids to make their own breakfast - nesting story

5. Supervise and instruct. Our big kids are starting to tackle some bigger tasks like using the toaster. Our daughter Beau mastered making her own toast when she was seven. But before she could go solo with this big-kid task, I supervised her many times and drilled safety tips into her like to never put a utensil in the toaster. Over time Beau really mastered toast making and even enjoys making toast for all of her siblings.

Watch how our kids are gaining independence…

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kleenex Brand. While compensation was provided in form of trade, all opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the opinions of Kleenex Brand.

How To Help Your Kids Become More Independent And Get Them On A Schedule (Free Download)

Helping Kids Become IndependentThere tends to be so much focus on getting babies onto a schedule that we sometimes forget that older kids need structure too. This became very apparent when our twins were born and my two older kids, (ages five and three), were having meltdowns, forgetting to brush their teeth, having way too much screen time and getting constipated all of the time. Not to mention my husband and I were starting to bicker as a result of the chaos. I knew that something had to change!

I decided to make a tailored schedule for our older kids, complete with pictures, so they could go to the schedule and understand it themselves. This particularly worked well with my son who used to pester and start an argument with me right after school everyday. I always knew that he was hungry and needed a snack first, but we would start into it everyday. Once I had the schedule up, I would just say, “well, let’s check what the schedule says,” knowing the schedule said to wash hands and have a snack. We never argued after school again.Kid's Schedule

Let me explain the constipation part. My kids would typically hold it in and not want to stop what they were doing to have a bathroom break. With the schedule, I just built it into our day. I also made sure I built in hand washing, especially with newborns in the house.

This schedule may seem a little rigid but it was a sanity saver. We aren’t currently using the schedule, but I am planning on updating ours for September to get everyone back on track when the new school year starts. This type of schedule may work better for some kids, more than others.

Another way I have been able to help our kids be more independent, was by adding signs around the house to remind them of what they should be doing. For example, in their rooms I added a sign reminding them to clean their rooms, which I stuck near the light switch. In the bathrooms I added signs to remind them to wash their hands, and in the kid’s bathroom, I added a sign reminding them to brush their teeth. Each of these signs have a picture illustrating the task, so even Beau, who can’t read yet, can understand the message.Firefly ToothbrushesThank-you to our friends at Firefly for giving us these awesome toothbrushes and mouthwash!

I have included a FREE download of our schedule below. I encourage you to customize it to your day and add photos of your kids doing each activity!

FREE DOWNLOAD> Kid’s Daily Schedule – Nesting Story

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