Encouraging self-sufficiency in your toddler
It’s easy to keep on doing things for your baby - she’s still little, and you’ve been helping her with most of these tasks since she first arrived. she’s growing, though, and becoming older and more capable each day. The more she grows, the more she’ll be able to start doing for herself, and letting her gives her the chance to develop her skills.
Why is self-sufficiency so important?
Don’t worry - your little one still needs you! But learning to tackle simple jobs on her own will do wonders for her confidence, and will also take a little pressure off of you, as she learns to new skills. Sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it?
Tips for teaching self-sufficiency
- Delegate tasks: Unfortunately, your baby can’t wash and fold the laundry just yet, but that doesn’t mean she can’t help toss her dirty clothes into the hamper. Building small jobs like helping you straighten up, or even picking up her toys, will teach her about being responsible for her own space and actions, and will foster independence.
- Make it easier: If you want your baby to learn to get dressed with less help in the morning, take out some of the guesswork. Set out an outfit on her bed, and let her try to work her way into the clothes. Skip the complicated attire to start, and let her begin with clothing that is more simple. You can also start by helping her, but giving her a chance to take a bit more control, like by holding out her pants for her to step into.
- Step back: It’s natural to want to jump in and help when you see your baby having trouble, but so long as she is safe and not upset, it’s often best to stay on the sidelines and let her learn. Try not to be quick to swoop in and finish a task she is working on, or waiting to step in until she asks.
- Allow for mistakes: Just like any time someone learns to do something new, as your baby learns, accidents will happen, and that’s okay! Letting her know it’s just fine to make mistakes can help her learn from them, and increase her confidence so she’ll try again until she gets it right.
- Offer praise: Young children thrive on praise, and celebrating small victories, like remembering when it’s time to feed a pet, or hanging up a washcloth when she finishes using it, will help build her confidence, make her feel proud, and encourage her to want to repeat the behavior.
The more your baby grows, the more skills she’ll master, but the more she’ll need to learn, too. There’s a whole world of things she needs to figure out how to do, and now is a great time to get started.
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