Sometimes, I look around and wonder where my first baby went – I know it’s my job to encourage toddler independence but… who is this new creature? These days it’s all arms and legs, and silly songs, and “grown up talk” (“Mommy, can you find the d’rek-shuns to our house?” – I mean, where does he think he’s going?!).
I don’t know if my son is considered a toddler anymore – I guess he’s more of a preschooler. Sigh. What happened!?
As much as I long for those days of gathering a chubby little body onto my lap to put on his shoes (I do, I really do miss that), our goal as intentional parents is to raise children who are confident and self-sufficient.
NUBY just sent me several products for review that really help our child spread his wings and develop independence!
5 small ways to encourage toddler independence
Allow them to feed themselves. I admit we had the hardest time getting our oldest son to use utensils. He loved having people feed him! He was like a little birdy in that way. Because he wouldn’t eat much, I too often gave in and slipped him spoonfuls of this or that during meals to make sure I saw some food go down! If I’d known about these Sound Bites Spoons from NUBY earlier, I know my son would’ve been gobbling his food right down.
For one – he loves making the train and car start up! Also, the spoons have long handles and a flexible soft tip, great for delicate gums on very young eaters. The Train, Car (blue and pink), and Airplane are just adorable and make meal times fun! (I vote for the Train as the Car button proves a bit challenging to eat and press at the same time!). (oh, and there’s a cute video at the end of this post where you can hear them in action and see which one my son votes for!!).
Show them how to care for their own hygiene. Most kids can’t reach the sink, so having the Nuby Step Stool is awesome for our big boy! (Did you know, this stool can hold up to 800 pounds! Incredible!). Now, he brushes his teeth and washes his hands and face without needing my help!
I love our bright blue and orange stool – all the NUBY products have fantastic colors kids will love! The No-Slip Top prevents little feet from sliding off, and the No-Skid Base offers stability. This stool is so handy, you can tuck it anywhere without it being obtrusive, and my son can carry it from room to room as he needs to reach things!
Encourage them to use the “big” toilet by themselves. There’s only so long kids will want to use the little potty chairs. Transition older toddlers to a Safety Training Seat so they can get on and off the toilet easily and safely (and without falling in!). The NUBY Seat goes under the toilet seat, which secures it while the child is seated. The size fits both our toilets (oval and round!).
Insist that they take care of their belongings. A Major-with-a capital-M goal of mine for our son this year is that he learn to pick up after himself. Especially his room! I don’t know what happened when his brother came along and there were TWO boys…but suddenly the room became a tornado-zone! Books, toys, clothes! I say “put those away” about fifty times a day. I gave him his own set of children’s hangers and now he has to put his pants on the hanger and put them away himself. I must say he does a really good job and next he’ll learn shirts!
Point out ways they can help other people. I’m all about sibling love, so I always encourage our oldest to help out the youngest. Little things to comfort the baby like bringing him a sippy cup, sharing a banana, or returning a thrown binky to our binky-addict baby! With the easy-to-use NUBY Pacifinder pacifier clip, our son can secure and clip the binky on the baby himself if we need him too. He really loves this job before we head out the door.
Having several pacifier clips is a must if you have a binky loving baby so I’d highly recommend the NUBY Pacifinder! I love the sturdy ribbon and cute prints. The Pacifinder works with any pacifier that has a handle because it closes with velcro.
As much as it makes my heart ache to see his babyhood fading away, I am so happy when I observe the good nature and inquisitive spirit God has blessed our firstborn with, and the excitement when he discovers he can do some new task “on his own!”
And now… the promised video!
How do you encourage toddler independence for your youngsters?
Thanks to NUBY for sending products to facilitate this post! All opinions are 100% my own!