Toddler Independence: Understanding and Encouraging your Child

“I want to do it by myself!” Has your child started to show his independence? Does he defy you in every simple task? Do these situations create frustration for both? Your child has realized that he is a different entity than you. At the age of 2, your child starts to shape his personality and discover his new skills. He is shifting from a dependent phase to an independent one.  Lots of daily opportunities give him time to master his skills. Sometimes due to our daily rush, we feel that it is better to do the job ourselves then to wait for our toddler to finish it. This is wrong. By doing so, you will deny the child’s opportunity to learn. The more he practices the more he becomes quicker and expert.

You should always encourage and nurture your child’s independence. You can do several tiny tasks at home that help your child’s development.

-    Allow your child to choose between two meals.
-    Allow your child to pick his clothes even if the colors do not match.
-    Teach your child how to undress himself and how to put his clothes on.
-    Practice hand washing and teeth brushing with your child.
-    Get your child utensils that would help him like a stool in the bathroom so he can reach the sink, a plastic rounded shape knife to cut his food, etc.
-    During play time, let your toddler reach for his toys.
-    Teach him to pick up his stuff and tidy up his room.
-    Leave your child to eat by himself even if he does a whole mess. He will learn with time.
-    Have your child participate in preparing the meals or setting the table.
-    Let your toddler help you in cleaning the house as removing dust. Of course, you will have to supervise him.
-    Ask your child to pick an afternoon activity.

Independence is an important stage in your child development. Even if he becomes a young independent person he will always need your love and care. Enjoy your motherhood!