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My little baby has been changing this month. She is transforming from baby to toddler. Each day she is getting more confident and capable with her walking. While a new walker can be challenging for parents, it can also be a great benefit for the child. She has been in that grumpy frustrated phase for a while, and walking has helped her feel happier and more independent. This is a definite Win-Win moment for us! I want to share a few tips that I have learned for teaching toddlers independence.
Tips for Teaching Toddlers Independence:
Obviously babies and toddlers need a lot of supervision and assistance in with everything that they do, but allowing them a little independence helps them feel valued from an early age. Here are some ways you can help them begin to learn a little independence.
1. When toddlers talk to you, talk back, even if it is just babble. Look them in the eyes and let them know you are interested and listening. If you talk with them, they will be more willing to want to learn to talk with you and learn new words. Slowly tell them the names of things around them that they are interested in.
2. Allow toddlers to feed themselves. My little one has never liked being fed with a spoon. From the time she was very small, she preferred doing it all herself. I started with soft foods she could easily eat on her own. Now, she wants to feed herself with a spoon all on her own. It is messy, but it makes her so much happier!
3. Allow toddlers a little alone time. My daughter is really beginning to explore the house on her own since she has become more mobile. If your house is thoroughly baby-proofed, you can let your toddlers explore a little. As long as you are close by and can hear them and check frequently, I think this is a great way to teach them a little independence. It helps them know that they are Ok alone without Mom or Dad for a bit.
4. Let them try out books or toys all on their own. Sometimes I think I need to do it all for them at this age, but they love to do it by themselves. Set up a few things for them to play with and let them play on their own for a bit. Maybe you can do one demonstration just to show them how they toy is used- for example a ring stacker- show them what you do, then let them do the rest. This helps them develop fine motor skills as well as independence.
5. As soon as they show interest, let them do small helpful tasks. My daughter loves going to get the diapers when she need to be changed. She also likes to help put on/take off her own shirt or pants.