Inconspicuous milestones

A toddler, who first finds a spoon with his mouth (and by the way smears half of its contents on his face) is not only a charming and funny sight. This is also important information from the child to his parents: “Mom, dad, I’m on the trail of independence!”.

Independence from the environment and skills that allow us to realize our passions and face challenges are priceless in the development of every child. However, for the child to enjoy the benefits of independence, it must first learn it. Not necessarily alone.

Parent – model

Parents are not only a source of information, motivation and support – they are also a model that is constantly observed and imitated. Well, when the child sees how parents approach the emerging challenges – they look for the best solution and try to put them into practice, but also know how to ask for help from others.

You can sew a button accompanied by your child, screw in a light bulb or show him how to get the information needed to deal with a problem. If a child has a chance to observe creative strategies of coping with problems, he / she will learn an active attitude to the difficulties encountered. However, to be able to practice new skills, he must have space to experiment.

Largest challenge – nothing to do

For example, when a child decides to take a case into his own hands and willingly takes to peeling mandarins for a family salad, the parent will face a huge challenge to … do nothing. Although he would certainly like to give valuable tips on how to do the job faster and more neatly. Refraining from interference can, however, bring many benefits – research suggests that the parents of children with a high level of independence are those who do not give too much guidance or do not give away. They react when the safety of the child is endangered, in other words when, for example, a toddler, in order to diversify kitchen adventures, reaches for a steak knife. So, let’s leave instructions for another occasion – and let spontaneous activity be a field for self-discovery of your abilities.

Effective praise

Nothing, however, prevents the child from praising! But praise is not equal – avoid assigning features (“smart”) – focus on the attitude, praise for taking on new challenges or doing something yourself. If you want to pay attention to the effect, let it not be something general (“nice, cool”), but specific – for example, “you have chosen this fruit very carefully”. Thanks to this, building self-reliance gains a positive background that will encourage the child to continue independent activities in the future. Praise is only an external award – its lack does not make the experience useless!

The most valuable here is the prize coming from inside – if the child opens a tightly curled jar of peanut butter, just when his parents will be in another room, he will get the prize for it (we ignore the issue, probably unauthorized, getting into sweetness): feeling that something depends on him, that he has an impact on the world around him.

Independence has many names – at the beginning success in the field of building independence is putting on socks, then lacing shoes, and finally heroic fight with a zip. However, it is worth remembering that independence also applies to critical thinking, drawing conclusions, contacts with others and cooperation. Supporting this aspect of development in the youngest, will be the foundation for the further development of independent action and thinking.