flow chart for independence

We Love the Flow Chart for Independence, Encouraging Parents to Step Back

Naturally, parents feel the urge to help their kids. They want to step in, offer support, and even fix things that don’t go according to plan. This is where the flow chart for independence comes into play.

We saw this flow chart posted on Twitter by Jim Coan, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. He wrote, “My buddy and colleague @DTWillingham made this flow chart to help parents shape their children’s independence. It reminds me to let my kids grow and learn and feel (and master!) moments of discomfort. Thanks, Dan, for helping me be a better dad!”

The Washington Post wrote about the flow chart in 2018. Daniel Willingham is also a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. And thanks to Jim’s art, the chart now has a great new look.

We love Dan’s and Jim’s willingness to openly talk about parenting and its challenges. It goes to show that we all have those moments where we need to remind ourselves to take a step back. Most of the time, kids really can figure it out on their own.

Kids can get things done, according to the flow chart for independence. 

You can use the flow chart with just about any parenting scenario. Using the chart in most cases will result in having the kids handling things themselves or being involved in some way. Even for a task that kids really can’t do (though they’re few and far between), Dan recommends having the child watch you do it so they can learn for next time.

With all of us spending a lot more time at home lately, that shouldn’t be a problem. And just think of all those new skills kids will learn and the independence they will develop.

If you’re looking for ways to encourage independence, check out the Let Grow Independence Kit.