One of the greatest perks of parenting is watching your baby blossom into a little toddling and talking person with her own sweet personality, thoughts, and also, VERY cute quirks.
No longer a needy baby whose main task it is to sleep, she’s keen to explore her world and take it all on!
The day she tells you, in no uncertain terms, “No, I do it” is actually one to celebrate, even if it means she spills her orange juice because she wouldn’t let you put a sippy lid on the cup.
While this budding independence is wonderful to witness, she still needs plenty of your help.
Here are seven little things you can do that will lift your toddler up so she can shine!
1. Get down to her level
When your little love talks to you, show her she has your attention by pausing what you are doing and crouching down to her level so that you are eye to eye. It can be hard to do this all the time when she wants your attention CONSTANTLY (we get it!) but if you consciously do this as often as you can, it will not only be teaching her how to actively listen – by looking at the person to show them that they have your attention – but will also encourage her to use her words and to get her thoughts out.
This will boost her confidence when it comes to talking to others, too.
2. Slow down
Life is busy, rushy and noisy. Us millennial mums have to juggle so much between work and mothering. But our little ones are on a different timeline. They are absorbing everything around them at their own pace. They notice the pink roses in the park while we’re busy checking a work email on our phone. Keep this in mind and you might want to embrace the slow parenting philosophy of doing less when you can so you too, can stop and smell the proverbial roses with your child.
When you slow down and let your child lead the way a bit more, her sense of independence and autonomy will only develop in positive ways.
3. Use a visual schedule
Little people love to know what they are doing and when. A visual checklist, where you simply draw pictures of the day’s activities, is a great way for her to see the day ahead and whats she needs to do to get out the door. This could include a picture of clothes for her to wear, a toothbrush, a toilet, then a picture of childcare followed by a stick figure drawing of you picking her up at the end of the day.
She will also enjoy ticking the tasks off her checklist as she does them (even if you help her). Your mornings will be less stressful too.
4. Turn your phone to silent for an hour a day
Our phones are a constant interruption – chirping notifications, email alerts and text messages at us constantly. But by putting our phone out of reach and onto silent for a part of the day, we are giving ourselves a tech break and our little ones the time to just be with us, uninterrupted.
Use this special quiet time to engage and play with your toddler and connect with her, giving her the opportunity to talk to you and express her thoughts, needs and emotions. Imaginary play is a great way to find out what her little brain is thinking about – and it offers her a way to express what’s going on in her world through make-believe.
Grab her teddies and have a teddy bears’ picnic, asking each bear how he is feeling and why. This will give your toddler the opportunity and confidence to express her feelings.
Read more parenting toddlers stories:
- How to parent an extroverted child when you are the opposite
- Maggie Dent’s top 12 tips for parents of toddlers
- Why tough love has nothing to do with raising resilient kids
5. Get her talking on the phone
A great speech and independence-booster – that your toddler will love! – is encouraging her to talk on the phone.
While she might initially look at the phone when talking, rather than talk into the microphone, learning how to converse without the aid of seeing facial expressions, is a skill and one that she will enjoy mastering.
Have her to chat to grandma and watch how cute it is when she holds up her dolly to the phone for granny to ‘see’!
6. Get into the habit of saying, “You can’t do it, yet …”
Little people can often want to give up on a task when they are finding it challenging (usually with a few tears and the words, “I can’t do it!”).
One easy way to gently encourage her to keep trying when she’s struggling is to remind her that she “can’t do it yet, but with practice, you will”. Using the word ‘yet’ gives her hope that she will be able to do it soon, but also allows her to feel OK about not being able to master the skill today.
7. Praise her
Never underestimate the power of praise! While we shouldn’t praise our kids for stuff they can’t control (for example, “You are so pretty”) we should when they put in the effort to do something on their own.
Phrases like, “Good trying”, “Keep having a go and you will open it soon” or “Great sharing!” are positive statements that encourage her to keep at it.
And when she can do it all by herself? Well, she will feel like such a big independent girl!
This post is brought to you by Biostime.