Encouraging self-sufficiency in your toddler

It’s easy to keep on doing things for Baby – he’s still little, and you’ve been helping him with most of these tasks since he first arrived. he’s growing, though, and becoming older and more capable each day. The more he grows, the more he’ll be able to start doing for themselves, and letting him gives him the chance to develop his skills.

Why is self-sufficiency so important?

Don’t worry – your little one still needs you! But learning to tackle simple jobs on his own will do wonders for his confidence, and will also take a little pressure off of you, as he learns to new skills. Sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it?

Tips for teaching self-sufficiency

  • Delegate tasks: Unfortunately, Baby can’t wash and fold the laundry just yet, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help toss his dirty clothes into the hamper. Building small jobs like helping you straighten up, or even picking up his toys, will teach him about being responsible for his own space and actions, and will foster independence.
  • Make it easier: If you want Baby to learn to get dressed with less help in the morning, take out some of the guesswork. Set out an outfit on his bed, and let him try to work his way into the clothes. Skip the complicated attire to start, and let him begin with clothing that is more simple. You can also start by helping him, but giving him a chance to take a bit more control, like by holding out his pants for him to step into.
  • Step back: It’s natural to want to jump in and help when you see Baby having trouble, but so long as he is safe and not upset, it’s often best to stay on the sidelines and let him learn. Try not to be quick to swoop in and finish a task he is working on, or waiting to step in until he asks.
  • Allow for mistakes: Just like any time someone learns to do something new, as Baby learns, accidents will happen, and that’s okay! Letting him know it’s just fine to make mistakes can help him learn from them, and increase his confidence so he’ll try again until he 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 he finishes using it, will help build his confidence, make him feel proud, and encourage him to want to repeat the behavior.

The more Baby grows, the more skills he’ll master, but the more he’ll need to learn, too. There’s a whole world of things he needs to figure out how to do, and now is a great time to get started.

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