3 Ways to Encourage Preschoolers’ Independence


If you work with preschoolers, you know they’re beginning to get their first taste of independence. This can mean lots of things–including the occasional headache–but ultimately preschoolers’ independence is a great thing and something to be encouraged and supported.


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As preschoolers become more independent, they can also be less cooperative. Kids this age take pride in making some of their decisions, such as which friend to play with, what clothes to wear, and—a bit defiantly—which limits to stretch.

Help preschoolers explore their independence while maintaining a productive learning environment with these tips.

1. Maintain a routine.

Preschoolers may be exploring independence, but they still find comfort in predictability. Keep a regular schedule, such as free play, singing, story, craft, snack, and cleanup. Within scheduled activities, offer kids choices such as which songs to sing or area to tidy up.

2. Keep it simple.

Don’t overwhelm kids with too many instructions. Provide simple rules and guidelines that are easy for preschoolers to understand and live by. Preschoolers can become frustrated and stubborn when their newfound independence is inundated with instructions, choices, or rules.

3. Make good choices.

Preschoolers need guidance when learning to make decisions. Teach kids to use the principles they’re learning from the Bible as a guide for choices in every aspect of life, from play to attitude.

by Jolene Roehlkepartain

You’ll find expert insight and advice on preschoolers in every issue of Children’s Ministry Magazine. To subscribe, click here.

3 Ways to Encourage Preschoolers’ Independence
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Jennifer Hooks

Jennifer Hooks is managing editor for Children's Ministry Magazine and a contributing author to Sunday School That Works (Group).

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