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?