Your child’s journey towards more autonomy is paved with tears, meltdowns but ultimately, a whole lot of success. When it comes to training young children, the biggest issue is that they have no concept of being responsible for their actions. When the alarm bell in the background buzzes off, many toddlers will continue doing what they’re doing with no regard to timeliness.
The trick is to nudge your child in the right direction, but without coming across as punishing. At the end of the day, your toddler’s tendency to gain independence from you will take precedence over having to wait every for you every time they need to play a game or use the bathroom. Here are a few steps you can take to encourage independence in toddlers.
1) Give Them Activities They Can HandleThere’s no rush in starting to make big decisions such as handling the finances of the house or even getting some groceries. Start by giving them activities that their developing minds can easily handle. If you’re going out for a picnic, you can ask your child to make a list of items they will need on the trip. You should give the child ample responsibilities to help the family, but without making it look like a form of punishment.
This will cultivate more responsibility, ownership of certain tasks and ultimately encourage independence in toddlers.
2) Don't Habitually Intervene in the Child's AffairMany parents are in the habit of hand-holding their child through activities where they make a mistake or take longer than needed. This isn’t a good idea if you want your child to become independent, the idea is to make them come to you rather than needlessly intervening. A good rule of thumb is to give your child a list of instructions and a few hints thrown into the mix.
Even better is if you offer the child multiple ways of completing a single task. Through repetition, the child will explore other options that lead to fulfilling the same obligations in an easier way.
3) Praise Their WorkWhen your child does something on their own, it truly makes for an exciting experience. Now you should resist the temptation to constantly surround them with your aura. Instead, time it so that you jump in at the right time with a praiseworthy compliment. The ideal time to lavish some much-needed praise on your child is right after they’re done with the objective.
4) Do Not Penalise Their Mistakes
Making mistakes is a big part of the learning process, but you should never associate failure with the child. Doing so will only harm their self-esteem. In some cases, they might even repeat their mistakes against your advice. What you can do is alert your child to actions that they could have done better, but not in a condescending way.