Podcast Episode 37. The challenge of stepping back and letting our children take risks and make mistakes is never easy. How to deal with this challenge is the theme of this week’s podcast where I speak to Lisa Campbell, a Speech and Language Therapist, and Milla Johnson, an Occupational Therapist. Lisa and Milla discuss why parents/carers should try to step back more to enable their children to develop the skills they will need to live independently.

The main focus of our conversation is around how to develop the daily living skills needed to live independently. These include shopping, independent travel and money skills. Milla and Lisa offer practical ideas on how to develop these skills. For shopping that can include having a categorized shopping list and thinking about what time to go shopping.

When it comes to encouraging financial independence and learning how to manage money, Lisa and Milla talk about the technology which can help as well as how to make family activities, like going to the movies, opportunities to practice both money and social skills. They also discuss ways in which to develop cooking skills, including simplifying recipes into a few easy to follow steps.

However, they warn against using every opportunity you have as a learning opportunity, instead focus on a few areas at a time. Learning independent life skills needs to be fun for young people, or they will give up because it feels like a chore. Let them see the purpose of it and try to make it as natural as possible.

Milla and Lisa also talked about the importance of letting young people know that it’s okay to make mistakes and that they can actually learn from them. It’s vital that we take a step back and allow our children to make mistakes so that they can learn to safely problem solve and come up with solutions to fix the problem. It is this skill that they will most need if they are to be truly independent of us.