Embracing Your Independent Toddlerby Elizabeth MacDonald
How to Embrace Your Toddler’s Independence
Ground Rules are ALWAYS Important
You are the adult. You get to make the ground rules. These should always be in place when safety is an issue. For example, walking in a parking lot, or across the street is a non-negotiable hand-holding act. Hold hands or be carried. Run away, and he will be picked up and removed from fun (or will return to the car until ready to walk safely). Biting, hitting, spitting, and hurting others is also a no-go. Don’t get caught up in anything other than safety and common sense rules though – it’ll get exhausting.
Choices are Key
If you provide tempting choices, a toddler has a higher chance of feeling ‘in charge’ and meeting your desires. However, this may only work 30% of the time. Contemplate your own choices here. Will your day be ruined by a ridiculous outfit selection? No.
Let Them Try
Scrapped knees and bruised egos are ok. You can be close enough to catch them before they fall/drown/get hurt/start a fire/whatever, but still far enough away to give them freedom to try. Let him cut the veggies. Let her explore outside. Let him learn by doing.
Let Go of Perfection
Perfection is boring, let your kid’s personality shine. As long as your child is learning (by example) kindness, safety, and respect, you are winning.
Happiness is Amazing, but Not Always Possible
If everyone is happy, you deserve a cookie. That’s pretty rare around here… In between my gray hairs popping up, we all silently laugh and hold back tears as our current toddler tries to push every boundary drawn.
Remember that this stage is important, and you should not try to mold your child into the vision you had. Instead, turn on the music, take pictures, and document the hell out of this stage. Nothing will make better senior yearbook photo spreads than these moments.