Do you remember the first time you got dressed or used the bathroom by yourself? Probably not. But you probably do remember learning to drive a car or the first time you lived outside your family’s home. Establishing independence makes anyone, no matter how old, feel proud and like a world of opportunity has just been opened.
A tot school experience can be as much about daily routine and success with independence as it is about learning through play. Being purposeful in evaluating your home and your time spent with your toddler to support independence will have benefits for everyone.
Encouraging Toddler’s Independence in the Home
- Place stools in various places so toddlers can easily reach what they need.
- Place utensils in a low drawer for toddlers to easily gather their own supplies for meals.
- Provide hooks at toddler level for them to hang outdoor wear.
- Keep toys you have out in the same place so toddlers know where to put things back when they’re finished.
Encouraging Toddler’s Independence in Self Care
- Introduce learning to use the toilet with signs of readiness using books, discussion, and demonstration. Make the bathroom accessible with stools and a potty seat.
- Have a mirror at toddler height for tooth and hair brushing and cleaning their faces.
- Verbalize the steps of getting dressed while assisting and encourage toddlers to do what they can themselves.
Maria Montessori stated, “Never do for a child what he feels he can do himself.” Sometimes we are in a hurry to get out the door or things in the home are simply just not safe or child-friendly.
But as much as possible if independence in taking care of one’s self and an environment is encouraged the whole family will benefit with the success of the child!