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Fostering Independence in Your Toddler

by T Akery | September 5th, 2013 | Infants/Toddlers

toddler playing on the track at local high schoolYour toddler is reaching the point where they can begin to do things. They can manipulate objects and put things on and off. Part of helping them grow up is letting them to do some things by themselves. It is also the time when you have to let go of your control just a little so that your toddler can learn how to do some things for themselves.

One big thing that they can begin learning to do themselves is getting dressed. Yes, there are some pretty complicated outfits that your toddler may look especially cute in. But for the most part, attire that is easy to manipulate is better suited to the toddler stage. You can help them foster a little independence by teaching them to put certain items of clothing such as socks or shorts on themselves.

While it make take a little longer than you want for them to get dressed, the payoff comes in the accomplishment they feel of doing something all by themselves. Later on, they may brag about this little victory that will some day become a common occurrence. But it is a feeling that they can build on and it will encourage them to attempt more things by themselves.

Picking up toys is another part of learning to do things by themselves. It is a part of learning how to clean up. While you shouldn’t expect perfection, learning to put everything in its place is a valuable skill that they can carry with them. There will be protests and times when they don’t want to clean up. There will be times when it is better just not to press the point. But learning to pick up a few toys after they play with them will help them learn that there are things that they can do.

Helping in snack preparation is also a part of fostering independence. While they still need constant supervision with this chore at this age, your toddler begins to put together the basic building blocks for learning how to cook for themselves. Sure, the smiley faces are crooked, the cheese isn’t perfectly square on the crackers or the apple slices are arranged in a strange manner. It doesn’t matter so much as long as they took a part. The bonus is that they are more likely to eat it if they help make it.

These are just a few areas in which you can help your toddler learn a little bit of independence as a parent. Take the opportunity to encourage them to do things for themselves. While there will be situations in which this process slows things down, it is important to begin letting go enough to just let them do things for themselves. This spirit of independence will help build their self-esteem and lay the building blocks for future tasks when they become adults.

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