All parents have heard their toddlers saying “No, I want to do it.” While this may come across as stubbornness, in reality, they desire to be independent kids. Gaining independence is a life skill that everyone must learn. Below, we look at easy tips and tricks parents can use to promote independence in their children.
Why Fostering Independence in Young Children is a Good Thing
We all love mothering our children, this will never stop. However, there comes a time when we must let our children take charge and do tasks for themselves. For some parents, this time will come as a sigh of relief and for others, it will be more of a struggle.
Yet, promoting your child’s independence is a good thing. Not only is it an important life skill that everyone must learn during childhood development but it also teaches patience and encourages curiosity. As your child hits the toddler years they grow leaps and bounds. They discover what their favorite toys and foods are – which they will often let you know about.
While these years can bring with them some not-so-pleasant common toddler behaviors, it is also a great period to provide your child with opportunities to be more self-reliant. Below, we share some of our favorite parenting tips and activities to promote independence in toddlers.
5 Ways Parents Can Promote Independence in Toddlers
Letting your child become more involved in the tasks that you do as part of a daily routine doesn’t have to be daunting. This can be a very fun and rewarding time for all of you. By encouraging and instilling qualities such as independence in your toddler, you are ultimately giving them the tools that they need to be confident in their abilities.
Here are some simple ways that you can encourage independence in your toddler:
- Provide Opportunities: Your child will never learn how to do something themselves if you don’t give them the opportunity to. While we’re not saying that you should leave your child to make their meals, you can make them responsible for simple tasks such as carrying their lunch box, or putting their toys away.
- Ask Your Child to Complete Tasks on Their Own: Encouraging your child to do age-appropriate tasks on their own can be great for their self-confidence. While it will take time and they may still come to you for help, encouraging and praising them every time they complete a task by themselves will help improve their abilities.
- Offer Your Child Choices: A great way to promote independence in your child is to offer them choices. Oftentimes, a toddler tantrum will happen when they want to have more of a say in what they do or wear. By giving them a choice, e.g. letting them choose between two different t-shirts, it makes them feel like they are the ones making the decision.
- Engage and Interact With Your Toddler: Allowing your child to complete tasks by themselves should be an activity that you are both still involved in. For example, the next time that you are cooking dinner, set them up at the counter beside you and ask them to wash the vegetables. This way you can keep an eye on them but they will be doing the task by themselves.
- Set a Daily Routine: Having a set daily routine is another brilliant way to help your child feel more independent. While you don’t have to follow every activity to an exact timeline, keeping a schedule and allowing your child to do certain tasks gives them a sense of structure which promotes independence.
While you will always find that certain days are more of a power struggle with your toddler than others, every tip and trick that you use will set your child on the right path to becoming a responsible and independent human being.
Try It At Home: Fun Independent Activities for Toddlers
Struggling to think of fun ways to get your child to become more self-sufficient? These independent activities for toddlers will have you and your child smiling and laughing all day long:
- Picking out clothes
- Washing face and body
- Cleaning the floor
- Taking laundry out of the dryer
- Watering the plants
- Assisting with cooking and baking
Watching your child become independent is a wonderful part of parenthood. While for some children it may come more naturally than others, it is a sign that they are ready to have more purpose in their lives. Remember, that they won’t become independent overnight. However, with your encouragement, they can become a little more confident in their abilities every single day.