Yes, that wonderful time in your toddler’s life when they transformed into super-independent-toddler! I am baby! I can do it myself! They want to not only pick out their own outfits but put them on all by themselves. They want to pour their own juice, fasten their seat belt, close or open the garage door without any help, even though they are about 3ft. too short to even reach the button. It can be very a frustrating time for a parent but a very necessary time for your toddler on his / her journey of becoming an independent little one.
So you can maintain a full head of hair and not pull it all out, I’ve listed a few things you can do to navigate through this trying time.
Offer Choices. Toddlers get a big thrill when they feel as if they made the choice. So for example, when it comes to choosing an outfit, try laying out two outfits and let them pick which one they want to wear. Or for lunch, would you like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a hot dog, apple or banana. I’m sure you get the picture so give it a try and see what happens.
Let them do it their selves . . . with a little help from you. You and I know they can’t reach the garage door button but they think they can do whatever they’ve seen you do, you make it look so easy. So what if you placed a step stool under the button so they can reach it themselves.
Oh yeah, the seat belt. Well my son’s car seat like most, has two sections that have to be buckled, one between the legs and one across the chest. I compromised by letting him work on the chest buckle (with my help at first, now he’s able to do it by himself) and the other buckle I do. I’m sure you’ll think of other ways to help your toddler help themselves.
Hold back. I know as parents we always want to be there for them, we don’t want them to hurt themselves with anything but remember little boo boos are a part of growing up. Give them room. I remember taking my sons to the park, my youngest tried to keep up and do everything his older brother did. I was okay with most things but then my oldest son zoomed up the rock climbing apparatus and before I realized it my youngest was climbing too. As I ran toward him (it seem like slow motion) I was thinking . . . Oh my, there’s no safety net, where’s the child harness . . . he continued climbing and by the time I reached him he was already half way up with his brother at the top encouraging him “Come on Jalen, you can do it! I learned to hold back (even though I couldn’t resist putting my hand close to him, just in case) a little and give him room, you should too.
As I said earlier these are just a few things to help you through this trying phase. I’m sure there are several veteran parents that can share tons of things that have happen with their toddlers and things they’ve been successful with, we’d love to hear from you.