Encouraging self-sufficiency in your toddler

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

Why is self-sufficiency so important?

Don’t worry – your little one still needs you! But learning to tackle simple jobs on their own will do wonders for their confidence, and will also take a little pressure off of you, as they learn 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 they can’t help toss their dirty clothes into the hamper. Building small jobs like helping you straighten up, or even picking up their toys, will teach them about being responsible for their 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 their bed, and let them try to work their way into the clothes. Skip the complicated attire to start, and let them begin with clothing that is more simple. You can also start by helping them, but giving them a chance to take a bit more control, like by holding out their pants for them 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 they are safe and not upset, it’s often best to stay on the sidelines and let them learn. Try not to be quick to swoop in and finish a task they are working on, or waiting to step in until they ask.
  • Allow for mistakes: Just like any time someone learns to do something new, as Baby learns, accidents will happen, and that’s okay! Letting them know it’s just fine to make mistakes can help them learn from them, and increase their confidence so they'll try again until they get 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 they finish using it, will help build their confidence, make them feel proud, and encourage them to want to repeat the behavior.

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

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