Giving your baby independence
You’ve probably seen the signs. Grabbing a spoon during meals, pulling their socks off right after you put them on, and turning the pages of their favorite book.
These are cues of independence and are completely normal. And although it may be frustrating and time-consuming to let them “do it themselves,” it will help your baby later if you give them a little independence now.
As your older baby reaches this age of independence, here are a few tasks you can let your baby do by themselves. But remember, even an independent toddler should never be left alone. So always stay within reach.
Let them brush their teeth with a toddler-size toothbrush
Show your baby how you brush your own teeth, and they’ll try to do the same. Don’t expect perfection just yet. It’s the learning that counts. Be sure to help them finish the job.
Let them wash their own hands
Place a stool in front of the sink, let lukewarm water run slowly, and show your baby how to dispense and use liquid soap. Bar soaps aren’t a good idea yet because they’re so slippery, and some actually look like snacks to a 1-year-old.
Let them feed themselves
This is a great age to let your baby experiment with food. Try new snacks that they can pick up with their fingers to practice feeding themselves.
Also, try letting them experiment with a spoon. Thick foods work best for this so try your baby’s favorite yoghurt thickened with baby cereal. Give them a couple of baby spoons and then let them try using them.
Let them clean up their toys
If you’re lucky, they’ll think it’s all in good fun. Sing a cleanup song every time you do it, and before you know it they’ll be singing along with you.
Give it time
Life with a toddler who insists on doing things for themselves can be exhausting. It would be faster for you to wash them, feed them, and dress them, but in the long run you’ll be glad you taught them so much at this early age. So for now praise their accomplishments, allow extra time for independent tasks, resist the temptation to help, and take lots of pictures.
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