McKinney Mommas: SELF! A Toddler's Struggle With Independence Google+

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

SELF! A Toddler's Struggle With Independence

My toddler will be 2 years old in 1 month and has already hit the "SELF" phase, meaning she wants to do EVERYTHING by herself!

I had a hard time figuring out how much to step in and help and how much to just let her struggle to do these new tasks on her own. 

Earlier this week, she wanted to put on her shirt without any help, but then struggled and got very frustrated when she got stuck.


The first time I stepped in, despite her displeasure and tried to help. To my surprise, it just seemed to make the situation worse

The more I tried to help, the more she'd yell "SELF" and tear away from my "helping hands" eventually giving up. 

I noticed throughout the week, that if I gently coached her with my words, but still held back and didn't step in to physically assist - even though she struggled and got frustrated, she fared much better. 

I started waiting for her to actually say, "help" and then assist as minimally as possible. Maybe just point to where the arm hole in the T-shirt was, instead of put her arm there myself. Or just widen the shoe opening and pull out the tongue, instead of wiggle her heal in myself.

Yes, this whole process shaved down any extra time we had in the day, but by the end of the week, I noticed that she actually learned a few new skills much faster than when I was stepping in to help anytime she struggled. 

Helping a little person learn new skills is challenging, time consuming, and heart wrenching at times, but seriously rewarding when you see your little peanut finally put on their socks and shoes ALL BY THEMSELVES after struggling with it for days!

I'm finding, that sometimes, our job as a parent isn't to make everything all better instantly......rather, sometimes it calls for us to take a back seat, offer a supportive environment, and remember failed attempts and frustration are just stepping stones to success in our child's process of learning. 

DO you have any stories to share about your child's quest for independence? 

1 comment :

  1. My story is actually about a 3 year old at one of our cake decorating parties. She was the youngest at the party. Most of the children were around five. The task at hand... to make a Cherry Princess cake. I instructed everyone how to make them, of course being a 3 year old, she didn't pay much attention to my instruction. As the children got started she went to town trying to decorate her cake. One of our hostess immediately went to guide her a little and she wasn't having it. She very loudly exclaimed... "I CAN DO IT". Most of the moms were trying to help their children, thinking that the task was just too much for a 5 year old. Not this little girls mom. She watched calmly from afar. To everyone's amazement, the three year old was creating a lovely cake all on her own. The moms quickly backed up and let their children have the experience. It was Greatness! I will never forget that sweet little girl that carried so much confidence. The best thing about throwing a Scribble Cakes - DFW Cake Decorating Party is the opportunity to see what a child can create. They are truly amazing.


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