Teaching Your Child How to Take Initiative
By Kathy Sacoulas
When I look for employees, I look for those who are self-starters or those who we see can take initiative with a task without being told to do so. (Of course, I’m looking for those who take initiative using the proper protocols) Believe it or not, as of late it is difficult to find people like this because parents have removed a lot of the figuring out time for kids. So here are some tips on teaching your child how to take initiative.
- Teach them how to do things. Before you can expect your child to take initiative, you have to teach them how to perform tasks properly and independently. Showing them how to do it without doing it for them is something that takes time initially but reaps many rewards later.
- Encourage them to do things by themselves. Give your child an opportunity to figure things out themselves and give them the time to do tasks. For example, teach them how to tie their shoes and make sure they have enough time before you go out to continue to learn to do it on their own. Stop yourself from doing it for them.
- Stop yourself from fixing their mistakes or doing their work. When the kids think that they can’t do anything right on their own, they are not going to want to initiate their own tasks. Give them the freedom to figure it out and praise them for their hard work, even if it isn’t perfect.
- Teach your kids to be problem solvers. Frustration can often lead to kids quitting unless they are taught that perseverance leads to rewards. Give your kids tasks and problems they have to sit and think about. Allow them to problem solve on their own to figure it out. Remind them to not get focused on the problem but rather figure out ways to come to a solution.
- Be patient. This world is very fast-paced and we often lose our sense of teaching kids to be independent because we want things done now. It’s important to carve out time for our kids to do chores, life skills, etc and make a point of taking the time to have them figure things out. This is an investment in their future and will make your lives easier in the end.
When your child learns to take initiative, you’ll soon discover how wonderful it is to have a child who will do things merely because it has become a habit of independence, from which they gain a tremendous amount of pride and self-assuredness.