5 Strategies to Promote Independence in Preschool

Consider how much simpler life would be if your children picked out their own clothes, prepared their own snacks, put away their own toys, and helped around the house. Teaching them to be independent will not only make your life easier, but it will also set them on the path to becoming responsible people.

I want to remind you though that there can be mistakes or accidents that require starting over which can lead to frustration and even tantrums or outbursts. It's reasonable to take longer to learn a new skill, and independence-building activities are no exception.

If you’re a teacher wanting to incorporate more independent learning for less classroom management or a parent aiming to build good independence activities for your kids, then this article is for you.

As a teacher myself, I want to help you out!  Have a smile on your face, and empower the children to practice independence skills while still incorporating fun and playful learning.


Preschool teachers have a special knack for making it appear as though managing dozens of children at once is simple. They are outnumbered by tiny kids who are pretty messy and demanding, but this is barely visible at the end of the day.

Quite frankly, it can be a bit tricky to teach children to be independent at times. Fortunately, by taking small steps forward, these strategies can help them gain more freedom and responsibility.

1. Establish Simple and Predictable Routines

Most children thrive when they have established routines. A good routine will help them remember what they need to do and in what order they need to do it.

For example, a morning routine may start from taking a bath and getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing their teeth up to packing their things to get ready for school.

Whereas an after-school routine may involve eating their snacks, doing their homework, playing outdoors, doing chores, eating dinner, taking a bath, putting on their PJs, brushing their teeth, reading a storybook, and lastly going to sleep.

For teachers in a classroom setting, routine is a BIG DEAL! You can incorporate a daily agenda regarding subjects, tasks, and other activities for your students to refer to. When your students know what's coming next, they'll be able to transition without your help.

2. Set Reasonable Expectations

It's vital to strike the right balance between having high expectations for your child and not setting them up for failure or causing them undue stress if they don't meet them. As long as the expectations from adults are clear and reasonable, children will usually try to meet them. 

They'll give up if you ask too much of them. However, if your expectations are too low, you won't push them to learn what they're capable of.

For teachers, it’s important to not "baby" your students and rescue them by doing tasks for them. 

Your students may be young, and they may struggle the first few times they try something, but if given the chance and the right encouragement, they can accomplish anything.

3. Mold their Behavior One Step at a Time

This involves teaching a child a new skill one small step at a time. Each step is reinforced before moving on to the next. Children can eventually master more difficult tasks.

Telling your kids to clean their room, for example, is unlikely to work if they have never done so before. To mold them, you'd have to teach them one step at a time.

Demonstrate how to do things, such as making their bed. Then, as they attempt to do it on their own, guide them. When they're on track, give them positive feedback, and redirect them if they're heading in the wrong direction.

Teach them the next step in the process, such as picking up their toys and putting them away in storage, after they have mastered the first step.

4. Use Visual Labels

Create a chart that explains each step like a to-do list or a checklist. You can provide pictures that show them what to do step-by-step or look for images you can cut out and attach to a chart. 

Place the chart near where they'll be performing the task. A chart about cleaning their bedroom or doing their homework could be on the bedroom door.

Another tip is the implementation of punch cards!

Punch cards can assist teachers, parents, and your students in keeping track of what is happening in the classroom. I have some resources here that can help you out with different fun themes.

Pig Theme Book Markers Rewards Behavior and Homework Tracking Cards

With this set of print-and-go Pig Theme Punch Cards, give students a visual hands-on reminder to complete homework, classwork, and turn in homework. Teachers, parents, and students will be able to understand what's going on in the class with these punch cards!
Students can use these cards to keep track of good behavior and chores at home.

Book Markers Behavior Rewards and Homework Tracking Cards MOOSE Theme

Enable the students to see their progress on a daily basis, providing a visual reminder to complete homework, classwork, and maintain good behavior.
You can use these punch cards at the end of each day if work is completed, homework is done, and they have good behavior! 

Punch Cards Behavior Rewards and Homework TIGERS

This "TIGER"RIFIC theme set is a print-and-go punch card with so many benefits to using all year. 

Make the students see their growth daily to serve as a shining example to finish homework, class projects, and maintain good behavior. 

5. Assign Leadership Roles

Children enjoy seeing their adults working and accomplishing tasks, and they are eager to join in with their parents to complete the tasks together.

Parents can assist their children in developing leadership skills by accompanying them to work, exposing them to a variety of people and environments, and assigning concrete tasks to which they are responsible for completion. 

In the classroom setting, teachers can have a responsibilities board where you can rotate student names each week or delegate a "Student of the Week" who has several responsibilities. 

Children will be empowered by leadership skills, which will enable them to better direct their lives toward their defined goals and achieve success in a variety of areas.


It’s easier said than done when you want to motivate young students to grow up to own their learning and take care of themselves.

Each child will be different, of course! It’s important that you find out what works best for each of your uncertain students and work with them to help them achieve their goals.

You can empower them so that they see the value in persistence and consistency and help your students find the spark in learning by relating it to their interests. 

Utilizing these strategies can foster independence all throughout childhood and are essential for their overall growth. They can learn the skills and gain the confidence they need to start doing more things on their own with a little extra help and guidance from you.

See you next time in my next blog and may you have an Oinktastic time today!

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