Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Promoting Independence in a toddler

There's a lot to be said to teaching a child responsibility.  But along with teaching them responsibility, they are also learning to be independent.  A toddler, who has to be told a gazillion times to be told the same thing, will unknownly surprise you by following though on a self-initiated task.  In other words, they will start to pick up toys on their own or put their clothes in the hamper without being asked.  Thus evolving into independence.

Here is a list of thing we do to promote independence by giving our 2 1/2 year-old daughter certain "responsibilities:"

  • Putting her clothes in the hamper
  • Putting her hamper back in her room (after I do laundry)
  • Picking up toys and putting them in correct location (or close enough on some days)
  • Folding wash clothes
  • Matching socks when doing laundry
  • Handing me shirts to hang up when doing laundry
  • Putting books away in baskets
  • Throwing away garbage 
  • Giving her choices for lunch or breakfast
  • Letting her pick out snack from the pantry and put it on her snack table
  • Having her get dressed by herself every day -- I let her pick out her socks, underwear and pants.  I pick out the shirt.  She puts on her night diaper and sleeper at night.
  • Getting undressed.
  • Having her put her shoes and jacket on by herself when leaving the house
  • We're in the middle of potty training.  She won't do number 2 on the potty yet, so we let her put on a pull-up.  She does this by herself.  We change the dirty diaper.
  • Playing organized games (first lots of guided instructions, but eventually not as much guidance needed)
  • Using an art easel with Crayola color wonder paper and markers.  It stays in the living room for a week or two at a time.  Teaches to use markers on paper and put the caps back on.
  • Simple tasks: I often will ask her to get me a box of kleenex from the linen closet or turn off lights in a room if they were left on.
  • Asking her to come from across the room.  Then giving her a hug and telling her something positive
  • Reinforcing good behavior with saying a "thank you" or saying "how quickly she followed directions."  I will also take a positive action she did earlier in the day and tell Daddy at night in front of her.  Then he can give her positive words about it, too.
  • Giving choices for which books to read, what games to play, which park to go to, which direction to go on a walk, 
  • Holding the dog's leash on a walk
  • Picking out toys and books to rotate
  • When doing a craft, giving her the choice of colors for paint, paper color, markers or crayons.

These are just some of the techniques that work for us.  We don't use a chore chart or rewards.  The above listed are just what is expected.  We make it a lot of fun and she doesn't mind being asked to help with anything.  They love helping at this age.  Adapt these ideas into what you do and your lifestyle.  Think big picture.  A child who picks up her toys at 2-years-old is more likely to pick them up when she's 6 without a battle.

1 comment:

Melissa Ann said...

This is a really good post!


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