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Encourage your child to take initiatives

Parents are the guiding light and the pillar of support for their children. Before stepping into the world outside, children follow their parents’ instructions to learn the first lessons of life. When they start going to school, children start obeying the instructions of their teachers as well, apart from their parents. However, many children do not develop the skill of taking initiative to learn and explore new things, rather they only follow the instructions given to them. In fact, parents often complain that their children need to be prompted time and again to finish their tasks, right from cleaning the room to finishing the homework. As a result, children tend to become more dependent on their parents/elders and less responsible for their actions.


On the contrary, the willingness to take initiatives makes the children more independent, more responsible, effective learners and good team players, especially in the later years of life. Therefore, parents need to instill in their children the zeal to take initiatives at home as well as in other social situations especially whenever they need to finish their work, learn together or interact with others. Here are some useful tips for parents, which will help them learn how to encourage their children to take initiatives.


Make your child responsible – Since the act of taking initiative comes with a sense of responsibility, make your child responsible first. For this, schedule a series of tasks that your child needs to do on a day, such as putting her dirty clothes in the laundry basket; cleaning her room after play; finishing her homework; packing her school bag for the next day before going to bed etc. Ask your child to start with a particular task and also tell her that she needs to take up the next task on her own, without waiting for your reminder. This simple exercise will make your child realise that you will not always provide her with instructions to do things, rather she needs to understand her responsibilities and act accordingly.


Encourage her to take the lead – Motivate your child to take charge of organising a birthday party at home; allow her to choose the location for the next weekend trip; take her to the grocery and ask her to pay the shopkeeper; ask her to welcome the guests to home on their arrival etc. Also, encourage her to coordinate with family members and seek their assistance whenever she needs. This way, your child will realise that she is an important member of the family and that her views, opinions and decisions are valued. Moreover, this will instill in her the quality of leadership and also enhance her coordination skills.


Don’t say “no” to your child instantly – Do not underestimate your child for the reason that she is too young to do things on her own. Moreover, restricting your child to take efforts will demotivate her to do things willingly in the future. So, do not say “no” to your child whenever she offers you help in the household chore, such as bathing and grooming the pet, setting the dining table, making the bed etc. Instead, accept her help wholeheartedly


Ask her to work in groups – Apart from home, help your child to assume responsibilities in group activities as well. For instance, assign her a task that she has to do in groups, such as making a pop-up birthday card, a doll house, a bird feeder made out of carton box etc. Ask her to call upon her friends in the neighbourhood to join her in the activity. Such group activities will nurture your child’s sharing and cooperative skills and will also instill in her the ability to work for a common goal.

Encourage her to experiment – Tell your child that it is okay to take risk if it can enrich her knowledge and enhance her skills. Allow her to make choices within the limits and provide her with the required supplies. Further, let her decide what she wants to do. For instance, if your child wants to draw and paint something, give her paints, crayons, colour pencils, paint brushes, pencils, drawing sheets and leave her to decide where she wishes to start from. While doing so, your child may make mistakes or end up doing things the wrong way, but tell her that she will learn many things from her mistakes and also inspire her to keep trying. Further, motivate her to try something new and different the next time she indulges in similar activity.


Acknowledge her initiatives – Appreciate your child even for her little efforts, such as whenever she completes her tasks, when she helps others, when she empathizes with her friends during their difficult situations etc. Also, reinforce the positive behaviour of taking initiative through praise & appreciation in front of those whom your child values, such as her close friends, relatives, cousins and elders. Take every opportunity to point out every little initiative taken by your child. Further, boost her confidence with positive reinforcements with words such as “I am sure that you can get this task done”, “your approach will be the best to complete this activity” etc.

Lead by example – Above all, as a parent, be the source of inspiration for your child to take initiative at every step of her learning journey. Provide her with examples from your own life and share your experiences with her about how you started with a task and accomplished it successfully. Also, explain how you come forward readily to solve any kind of problem in the family; how you take interest in experimenting with new things; how you arrange a surprise party at home etc. By looking at your enthusiasm to take the lead, your child will also keenly come forward to take initiative to learn and explore new things.

Lastly, keep in mind that by making your child responsible, she will be self-motivated to learn & explore new things. Also, she will learn how to work towards finishing her tasks without reminder or without the need of anyone’s assistance. So, provide your child with a conducive learning environment at home where she can enjoy the liberty of experimenting things and can also feel free to take the lead in the activities that she thinks can be done easily without any help. This will cultivate in her the confidence and the capability to take initiative to learn, as she grows up. Further, encourage her to carry forward this positive attitude, so that she becomes a responsible person, a team player and an active learner in life.



Meenal Arora
Meenal Arora
Mrs. Meenal Arora is the Executive Director of SHEMROCK Preschools & Founder Director of SHEMFORD Futuristic Schools – one of India’s leading education groups, which manages over 425 Senior Schools & Preschools across India and Abroad. As Head of the school curricular division, Mrs. Arora’s responsibilities extend to designing, innovating and developing educational systems. An enthusiastic writer as well, she has been consistently providing articles on parenting and many more topics related to children, which are regularly published in some of the leading newspapers and monthly magazines like Responsible Parenting, Parent’s India, Curriculum, Child, Grehlakshmi, Grehshobha, Bindiya etc. She is also on the advisory panel of Parent’s India Magazine - one of the country’s leading magazine.

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