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Independence is crucial in child development.
Thus, helping your toddler improve his independence is paramount for building a sense of self, self-esteem, perseverance, confidence, and frustration tolerance.
Although the quest for independence is evident in your children’s day-to-day activities from birth, finding opportunities to enhance it even more is vital for their social and emotional growth.
Opportunities like allowing your toddler to spoon-feed himself, or take his own diaper off, or just plainly letting him make his own snacks and pick out his clothes can truly go a long way.
“Please, let them be little, ’cause they’re only that way for a while. Give them hope. Give them praise. Give them love every day. Let ‘em cry. Let ‘em giggle. Let ‘em sleep in the middle. Oh, but let them be little.”
~ Billy Dean
Related article about toddlers: 6 Easy Tips to Prepare Your Toddler for His First Dentist Visit
Still, as a parent, it is hard not to groan at the thought of your kids trying to do things on their own.
Yes, it is sometimes terrifying to let them try because of the huge possibility that something could go wrong, resulting in a crying child.
But here is where we need to step back, Mama! Think about what our goal is, and remember that each small success counts towards that end.
As parents, we must encourage independence in our toddlers so that they will be confident in taking on difficult tasks. We have to create opportunities, set limits, and establish routines.
How do you foster toddler independence at home?
That is the question… Well, look no further! This guide will show you a straightforward approach to promote and nurture independence in your little ones.
Here are 5 manageable ways to start:
1. Set Predictable Routines
Routines are predictable patterns of behavior or thinking that are repeated over time. They give someone a sense of security and help him understand the world around him. Knowing what comes next gives him the ability to control his environment and make decisions.
Establishing a consistent routine is one of the most important things you can do to help your toddler become more independent.
So make sure to create routines for each day of your child’s life.
For instance, have your toddler brush his teeth before going to bed each night and brush his teeth in the morning too. Perhaps, as soon as he wakes up, have him learn how to use the potty, so he becomes accustomed to going on the toilet when he gets up first thing in the morning.
As toddlers experience these routines regularly, they learn to anticipate what comes next. They begin to take on more responsibility with less help.
If you let your toddler do some preparation work, like putting toothpaste on their toothbrush, they will independently take on more of these steps. With this, he will learn that you have faith in his ability to do things without you and that you are there to assist when he needs it.
Related article about toddlers: 7 Enriching Indoor Activities for your Toddlers
2. Let Your Toddler Choose
Toddlers are naturally independent and want to be in charge. They want to take on new challenges and make their own decisions. But sometimes, it can seem like parents are trying to control what a child does.
On that note, you should let your toddler make simple choices at home so that he may believe that you trust him to do the right thing. After all, this will help him build his confidence and co-reliance.
For example, let your toddler choose between an oatmeal or a toast during breakfast time. He may surprise you by picking the less popular item. Remember that it is very important that he gets what he wants most of the time. (As long as it’s not dangerous, of course!)
You can also let your toddler pick his outfit for the day. Give him two or three options and let him pick out what he wants to wear. This way, you are letting your child control his own clothes but also making sure he will be dressed appropriately for the weather outside.
3. Let Your Toddler Help
You can foster independence in your child by letting her help you with tasks. His little hands are perfect for small jobs, and since he is interested in what you are doing, he will happily lend a helping hand.
This also gives your toddler a chance to practice the skills he has been learning and gain more experience. He may not have the ability to do the task independently just yet, but he will gain from experience nonetheless.
For example, let him help you open a jar. If his tiny hands cannot get a good grip on the lid, you can take over and pry it off yourself.
Your toddler can also help in the kitchen. He can stir batter, help you wash vegetables, hand you measuring cups and spoons, open the microwave door, and much more. You can even set up a “kitchen table” or a workstation for him where he has his place to work.
4. Give Your Toddler Chores
Toddlers can feel important and useful if you give them simple chores. You can give routine household chores daily or assign chores to match the day’s activity.
Since toddlers are eager to help around the house, they will not resist a chance at responsibility. Just make sure that whatever you assign them is age-appropriate.
Now what can your toddler do?
Toddlers can do simple chores around the house. He can pick up and put away his toys when he is finished playing, put his dirty clothes into the laundry basket, help load the washing machine, set the table for dinner, help with the dishes, and more.
Giving your child small responsibilities like this is like giving him a paycheck without writing out a check. He will be excited about doing new things independently because he earns more responsibility.
5. Use Your Words
When you use your words to encourage and praise your child, he will value what you say and follow your lead. It can make him feel more independent because he knows you are giving him positive motivation to behave the way you want.
You can say things like “How impressive that you finished your meal!” or “I really like how you are always on time.” These words can help make your child feel good about himself and give him confidence for the future.
Also, when you do speak with your child, be sure to make eye contact with him and don’t yell. Allow for uninterrupted communication as much as possible, so your child does not feel rushed. This will also nurture his independence because he will learn to listen to you without feeling pressured or stressed.
Related article about toddlers: 5 Guaranteed Home Remedies to Constipation in Toddlers
Final Say on the Ways to Foster Toddler Independence at Home
Although some parents have the purpose of encouraging independence in their children, not all parents know effective ways to to truly boost it.
These five ways to nurture independence at home can help you teach your toddler to become more self-sufficient and co-reliant.
PRO TIP: Read a good book about independence to your toddler. This book is perfect for teaching him exactly that.
Fostering independence in your toddler is not something that happens overnight. Think of these ways as a tool to aid you with this long-term goal. It will likely take many small steps and years of work before your child grows into a fully independent individual, but with these, you can make sure that he is off to a good start!
What do you do at home to promote independence in your toddler?
Leave that valuable advice down below and help a mama out! Or maybe share this article with your friends.
You got this, Mama! Keep up the great work.
Talk to you soon,