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Parents can significantly foster independence in toddlers by providing a host of valuable experiences and ample opportunities.
To bring about the desired level of maturity and independence, parents need to provide their kids the right activities at the right time. A child is well on the road to independence, when there is plenty of encouragement from caring adults.
The joy of accomplishment your toddler will experience at every step of his development, will give him a fresh impetus to explore and meet with further challenges at the next level. However, you will need to use caution; if independence is forced on your child too early, it could have an adverse effect.
1.Look out for the built-in drive:
Children have a well-defined built-in drive to move towards independence. During the toddler years, your child may display an innate curiosity to discover varied experiences--- for example how things taste, smell or feel. Parents need to look for these signs of readiness and encourage accordingly when a child takes the initiative to venture out doing things on his own. Timely awareness by parents is the key to fostering independence.
The period of "terrible twos" is an age of exploration for your child. This is the time when your toddler will begin to explore the environment and the world around him. Wise parents would "let go" and allow the child to freely find out for himself what he can do. This could be in any area of child development---like his attempt to pull up and stand or walk. It is these small steps towards independence on which your toddler's confidence can be built.
A toddler, who is freely allowed to blossom without undue restrictions, soon attains a considerable amount of independence. However, as much as he wants to forge ahead, your child will continue to need assurances and appropriate responses from you. As soon as your toddler begins to gain mobility, a sense of autonomy and independence develops. He will gain independence as he begins to walk and climb, grasp things and indulge in other physical activities that entail free choice. Look for the appropriate signs.
4.Believe in your Child:
The toddler years are perhaps the best years for parents to begin believing in their child's capability to do things on his own. During this period, parents can help foster independence by teaching their child self-help skills like dressing and undressing, brushing teeth, toileting and feeding. It's best not to hold off teaching these; but take time to be supportive and encouraging. By being close at hand to admire and applaud your toddler's accomplishments, you can positively promote his self-esteem.
5.Maintain the Right Balance:
Your toddler's ability to be comfortable at every new step he takes towards independence is crucial; guide and support your child whenever a need is demonstrated. Children, who are pushed into premature independence by over stimulation, may be at risk. These children would feel inadequate and not good enough to meet their parent's expectations. Maintaining the right balance is the key.
Independence is a process; its successful outcome requires observation, attention and loving firmness on part of parents.