How involved is too involved?
When she was born, there was very little she didn’t depend on her parents for. Since then, she may have tripled in size, but she is still pretty little. That can mean it’s harder for parents to recognize when to step back a little, and let their children grow into a little more independence. Baby ’s body isn’t the only thing that’s growing every day, though, and as her physical skills and desire for independence grow, it’s important for her to have the chance to try those new skills, and that new attitude, out.
The toddler factor
One of the biggest differences between Baby ’s infancy and her toddlerhood is, of course, her . Baby doesn’t just have a better ability to do things for themselves , like take off her own socks, and start to feed themselves . She also has a growing desire to do those things – and so much more! – all on her own. In fact, Baby ’s desire to be independent, and to do things without your help, may very well grow a lot faster than her ability to do those things.
The difference in speed between ability and how much your little one just wants to can make for some messy mealtimes, some splashy bathtimes, and some wacky outfits – and probably a few tantrums along the way, too. These less-than-picture-perfect experiences are how Baby learns, though, and giving her the chance to try things out, even if she might not have the coordination to master them quite yet, is a valuable experience.
The helicopter effect
Giving Baby a little extra freedom now isn’t just good for her motor skills, though. It could also be good for your relationship with her , and her state of mind as she grows. Studies examining the effect of so-called “helicopter parenting” suggest that over-involvement in children’s lives, to the point of getting in the way of their independence, can get in the way of their confidence and the development of problem-solving skills they might need later in life.
That doesn’t mean tying Baby ’s shoes for her a little while longer, or worrying about her safety on the playground are bad things to do – they’re definitely still part of a parent’s job. But by getting started recognizing which skills Baby might be ready to start taking over for themselves , you’re getting ready for the future. It might just be holding her own spoon by themselves today, but it’ll be a new skill that she gains tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that too. By getting into the habit of adapting to change as Baby grows able to be more independent, you’re setting both of you up for the healthy growth of your parent-child relationship through the coming months and years.