Raising Independent Children 2

children eating healthy food at home or kindergartenHow to encourage independence in toddlers

Fostering independence and allowing your child to do more for himself is one of the challenges parents and toddlers face. The following ideas can help:

  • Choose clothing and shoes that are easy to put on. For example, shorts or skirts with an elastic waistband that can be pulled up, and stretchy t-shirts as opposed to shirts with buttons. Your toddler will likely still require assistance with dressing but being able to do some of it themselves will boost their confidence and desire to keep practising.
  • Your toddler will continue to require assistance with some things such as toileting for a while yet, but you can help them gain confidence in this area with things such as a small step or toddler toilet seat they can use to get onto the toilet themselves. You can also start teaching them about the use of toilet paper, showing them how to take 1-2 pieces off at a time under supervision (quick tip: if you face the roll toward the wall it is less likely to unravel).
  • Encourage your child to make some choices within appropriate limits. For example, offer your child two options for breakfast, or two choices of t-shirt to choose from. This allows you to decide what options are acceptable/realistic, your child to have some control over a situation and express their opinion, and reduces the potential for your child to feel overwhelmed by too many choices. Being able to have some say (even on the small things) in our daily lives helps boost a child’s confidence, decision making skills, and self esteem.
  • Encourage your toddler to help you with chores around the house. Kids love to mimic adults, and it is a great way for them to learn some daily living skills, spend time with you, and feel they are making a contribution to the household.

It can be difficult for parents to relinquish some of the responsibilities of daily tasks with your little one, but finding a balance where both you and your toddler can participate will ease the transition.