Independence – How to Lead a Child into It

Is your toddler in a stage that it wants to do many thing by itself? Its “I do it” is a daily routine? Believe that is absolutely natural.

 

Child is becoming aware if its own personality, his own self. It only means one thing for parents – to armor themselves with patience and encourage their offspring, anyway they can, in their independence. Of course it is not an easy task….

Most parent find this period rather difficult to deal with because they have a feeling that their little one is still too little. They think that their child cannot be able to do some of the things or it can come to harm by doing it or even break something. But the truth lies within. A toddler is actually quiet clever by then. It only needs some space so it can try to do things by itself. And don’t discourage it by saying “You are still too little to do that”

A child’s independence is developing best by doing simple everyday tasks.

 

GETTING DRESSED

At the age of two or three we can start teaching independence by a simple example: We let little boy or girl choose what to wear that day; lets say we give them 3 tops to choose from. When he or she chooses one; we can ask “What would you wear with that?” The child might choose blue and green striped top and red trousers with white spots. Mum shouldn’t say: “Don’t put that on.” Instead she should add: “Do you like it? I think that the blue trousers would go better, what do you think?” But if she or he would want to wear stripes with spots so let them. Nobody would mind.

At the upbringing period we should be aware of what is actually important. One important thing is: a child should make a mistake and then go and fix it.

Leading to independence – or the whole upbringing of your child- means that since birth we should teach children by our own examples.  If my two and half year old princess spends time with me while I’m getting dressed I could say: “Look at this lovely green skirt, I should wear with that this nice blue and green top, it goes well together. Do you think if you had a skirt like that that your pink top would go with it?” And the same goes for boys. When dad is getting ready he could say: “Look, doesn’t this blue shirt goes well with my trousers? Try and pick something similar for yourself. “

Please remember that getting dressed is the easiest way to lead them to confidently make their own decision.

 

FOOD

This is slightly harder but it’s possible to start at breakfast times. Let your toddler choose what it would want to eat” Would you like a toast with cheese or marmalade?” And if your child would demand on his toast for example pate, which you just don’t have, and with a hump leaves the table let him or her go.

 

HYGIENE

Just before the evening bathing mummy says: “Johnny I’m just getting your bath ready and when you come you can show me how well you can wash yourself” Don’t rush by soaping your child quickly. “OK, well done, I will help you with your hair.” Let your child dry itself and mum or dad can just assist with their back. Don’t forget to teach your little girl to wipe her bum well with a toilet roll independently as soon as you can.

 

CLEARING UP

A toddler is very able to tidy up his toys or even help laying the table. Child can help you peeling potatoes and even if it isn’t perfect he or she did it by themselves. The result isn’t important at this stage it is actually their ability and independence that the child was able to show.

When a child around two years old starts becoming “the clever clocks” you should let it do as many every day tasks as you can. Do make sure that you are talking to them while they are “working”. Peeling potatoes might take him more than half hour but time is not the essence here. Don’t discourage your child by saying: “you’re too little to do it.” Do adapt the activity to your child’s ability. If your little one is not able to use the peeler than let him wash the vegetable instead. Just don’t discourage your child from any tasks it can do.

 

What is important when teaching children independence?

 

PRAISE

It is very important to praise a child discovering its own self. Any time he or she shows signs of independence praise them, for example: when they use the potty without prompting, when they get dressed by themselves, when they eat up all the food and when they tidy up their toys, say: “You’ve done a great job, only big boys can do it so well.” You take your child swimming and when you are ready your little one puts his arm bands on by himself so make sure you praise him: “Well done for not forgetting.”

 

CHANCE TO MAKE DECISIONindependence of the child

When we talk about independence it is sometimes difficult for parent to find the right opportunities to let their kids to make decisions. It is much easier to give orders or bans. But it could actually be nicer for a parent to watch their little one solving a little problem or making their own decision. If you tell your child not to do something you should also give him an explanation: “You mustn’t do that because…” Practicing their independence also means practicing their thinking.

 

TIME

When teaching independence it is a common issue that parents rather overtake from their kids and don’t want to start with it. It is actually much quicker to dress little Mary themselves then wait for her to try it. Or if little Mary would take too long, mum could easily get stressed, she could add: “You are too little to do it I’ll do it. I thought that you were big enough to do it yourself.” If you little girl is not able to do it well enough or fast enough just assist, help a little but don’t do it instead of her.

 

WITHOUT MUMMY

Children younger than one year should be without their mum only a day (maybe two) a week. After one year you can extend the “away period” to three or more days maybe by staying at the grandparents or other relatives. Strange people show to your child their own customs or ways that you may not approve of.

For two or more years old is ideal socializing time at toddler centre or clubs for mum, where the child meet with their peers and is without they mums attention. At this time a child is developing an emotional independence. And of course is it very important to go through a period of being without a parent and to socialize before nursery or school time. Keep in mind that each child is different and that it needs its own time to master everything. But more independence he or she learns at home easier it will be to adapt to new environment at school.

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