Supporting your children’s autonomy is beneficial

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Supporting your children’s autonomy is beneficial

New scientific research has found an increase in cognitive skills amongst those children whose mothers provide more support and help develop their autonomy. These findings are important because they show how parents can support individual areas of a child’s learning, such as developing their problem-solving capabilities and being able to focus on specific tasks.

This research was carried out by a team from the University of Montreal. The study focussed on executive functioning abilities, which are the cognitive processes that we use in a range of daily functions. The children and mothers who took part in the research were assessed when the children were 15 months old and then again when they were three years old. The participants were tested through a series of preschool and toddler games that were a bit too hard for them to finish on their own.

Creating independent children

At both of these ages, the children with mothers who were better at promoting autonomy scored higher in the tests. The advancement of these functions has been shown to be determined by how a mother interacts with her children and supports them through difficult tasks. This includes helping them with problem solving, using a child’s perspective on a task, and keeping kids engaged in what they’re doing without controlling them.

Interestingly, there were no recorded differences between the separate age groups. This highlights that the consistency of this support could be an important factor. The team’s findings could open up new areas of research, such as looking at how this autonomy evolves and develops as a child gets older.


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