“People often avoid making decisions out of fear of making a mistake. Actually, the failure to make decisions is one of life’s biggest mistakes.”
–Rabbi Noah Weinberg
Encouraging children to become independent thinkers is one of the most important goals in a child’s education. Research shows that developing independence skills throughout elementary and middle school years helps children to build greater self-confidence and self-esteem. Independent thinking skills also teaches students how to become great leaders, as it helps them to make well thought out decisions and responsible choices.
Providing children with opportunities at home and in a classroom setting to make independent choices is a great way to practice real world critical thinking in a safe space. Between elementary years to pre-teen, children will build on decision making skills through their journey to adulthood. Through this educational process, children will learn that sometimes things may not go their way, but they can try again. This will teach them firsthand how to use the knowledge they have learned the next time around and feel surer of themselves when attempting new tasks.
Achieving independence in adolescent years takes time, patience, understanding, trial, and error. At young ages, it is best developed when children are offered choices. This can serve as a guide, so that children can narrow in on the decision that needs to be made. It is a helpful strategy that makes big decisions seem less daunting. Empowering children to make choices and take responsibility through different experiences is an important life skill that evolves proactive thinking abilities.
Here are 4 proven ways to help children develop independent thinking skills:
Teach respect and show understanding. Showing children unconditional love and constructive support when solving problems or conflicts will help them to feel safe to try, understood and respected.
Set clear expectations at home and in the classroom setting. Developing class guidelines at the beginning of the school year or fair at home rules helps students to understand expectations and make choices with those in mind.
Provide opportunities for children to practice being responsible and independent. If there is a class pet or you have one at home, have children take turns feeding or practicing care during certain times of the day. This will teach trust and making better decisions.
Encourage leadership and growth. Each week have a class line leader to lead the way or an at home helper to take care of certain projects or tasks. This will give children a role and develop a supportive mindset.
The Beth Emet School motto is to inspire children and help them become independent thinkers The school’s philosophy recognizes the significance of instilling in its students a healthy awareness of the world around them, and the accountability for taking action to make it a better place. Through embracing the whole child, Beth Emet School supports students in becoming confident, successful, independent thinkers.