Tag Archive | "teaching toddlers independence"

Ways To Promote Independent Play In Toddlers

Being able to play alone helps toddlers develop a sense of confidence and self-reliance.  It will also give parents more time for themselves. Here are some ways to help you coax your toddler to independent play.

Create A Safe Play Area

Your toddler’s play area can be his room, den or living room. Remove any hazardous and fragile items so your toddler will not be tempted to play with these objects. Secure big furnitures to the walls so it will not fall or topple over your toddler in case he tries climbing them. Cover electrical sockets with electrical outlet covers and use cord covers for electrical cords or hide them behind curtains. Install a safety gate at the doorway of the room and place a baby monitor so that you can keep an eye on your little one while he plays.

Take It Slow

Do not desert your toddler right away once he is in his play area. Show him the different toys and activities he can do. Once he gets the hang of it, sit silently beside your toddler as he plays. Do not join in. After some time, step away so he can continue playing on his own but reassure him that you will be close by if he needs you. You can start leaving him on his own for 5 to 10 minutes each day until your toddler is able to amuse himself for longer periods of time.

Limit Your Toddler’s Attention Span

Giving your toddler a box of toys to play with can overstimulate him. But giving him a single toy will also make him bored. Leave a few toys he can play with constructively such as building blocks, shape sorters, puzzles, play sets, books, finger puppets, coloring books and crayons, art and craft sets or any toy he finds stimulating. These toys guarantee a playtime that is educational, entertaining and absorbing.

Provide Music

Put on some child-friendly CDs. Sing-along CDs (e.g. Old McDonald Had A Farm, Jack and Jill, If You’re Happy and You Know It, etc.) and character children’s CDs (Barney, Elmo and Friends and Mickey, Minnie and Goofy) are good choices since these songs are familiar to your toddler. Listening to familiar songs is not only entertaining for your toddler to listen to and move with but it can offer comfort during solitary play as well.

Give Praise

Once solo playtime is up, make sure to praise your little one. Spend a few minutes playing a game with your toddler, read a story or ask him how his playtime went. Do not forget to tell him “Mommy is so happy you played by yourself. Great job!” and give him a hug and a kiss as a reward. Children want to make their parents happy and acknowledging their efforts motivate them to repeat the good behaviour.

Independent play is a skill that takes time for toddlers to learn. But with a little practice and your full support, you can get your toddler to play without mommy and daddy’s interaction.

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Teaching Toddlers To Be Independent

As toddlers grow, their need for identity and thirst to do things on their own also gets stronger. It is very important that parents prepare their children for adult life as early as possible, and that means teaching toddlers to be independent. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Create A Routine

The best way to teach your toddler independence is by building a routine. Routine creates consistency which is essential in helping children thrive. Establish a morning and bedtime routine and make sure you stick to it. Soon, your toddler will find his independence and complete tasks without you having to tell him.

Demonstrate It

Being able to do a job well promotes a sense of independence and accomplishment in your toddler. But in order to foster his abilities, you will have to show him how things are done step by step. While doing so, talk about what you are doing, let him assist you and then watch him do it on his own. For instance, you can show him how to dress himself by helping him put on a shirt first, then shorts, then socks and then have him do it. Do not forget to give him a pat on the back for trying.

Have Your Toddler Look After His Things

Tell your toddler that he is responsible of his own stuff. For instance, if he leaves dirty clothes scattered on the floor instead of putting them in the hamper, do not pick them up. Tell him to pick them up. Teach him how to put his shoes on the shoe rack after he comes home from school, how to make his bed every morning and so on.

Assign A Task

Give your little one age-appropriate chores around the house. Tell him that it is his responsibility to store his toys after he is done playing with them, to keep his bedroom clean or to clear the table after dinner. Better yet, let him pitch in. If your toddler wants to help you cook, clean or fix something, find a way for your toddler to help you. He may not be able to mop the floor, but you can ask him to fetch you a clean rug.

Let Your Toddler Make Choices

Saying no all the time does not guarantee your toddler will not fail and make bad choices. Once in a while, let your child take the lead and let him fail. If, for example, your toddler insists on eating all of his food in one sitting, let him. At some point, he will get hungry and realize that he has no more food left and that eating only small amounts of food makes more sense. When you allow him to make his own choices, you give your toddler a chance to learn and grow.

Be A Helper, Not A Solver

Do not step in and solve your toddler’s problems. Help your toddler figure it out instead. Ask things like, “How would you handle this situation?”. Just guide him and give him tools to solve problems on his own. He will feel more accomplished afterwards than if you resolved the problem for him.

Teaching your toddler how to be independent at an early age is very important. He will grow and live his own life, and this skill will come in handy so he can endure both the good and bad times.

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