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how to make your toddler independent


The day Emi was born, I knew I would be in for quite the ride as her mom.  Out of all my kids, she definitely has the most spunk, bravery, and adventurous spirit.  Which is pretty funny because, as you know, the rest of my littles are boys!  Not saying that I'm against Emi being the way she is.  Just saying that in my mind, I always thought my boys would be the ones I'd have a better handle on.  Ha ha!  But seriously though!  If Emi can ever figure out a way to do something all on her own, I can guarantee you that she'll find a way to do it and be the first to let me know if I'm ever cramping her style in the process!

  I swear, this girl is 4 going on 14!  And with her being so strong-willed from day one, I knew I had to come up with a game plan pretty quick!


how to make your toddler independent

how to make your toddler independent

how to make your toddler independent

how to make your toddler independent

how to make your toddler independent


how to make your toddler independent


how to make your toddler independent


So, after taking some time to go back on all I had learned from my child development and teaching degrees.  I came up with a few strategies that have definitely helped Emi become independent in a way that is still very manageable for me as her mom.  And, if you too are looking for ways to raise your own independent son or daughter, here are some of those things that have worked and continue to work for me with sweet little Emi.


5 Ways to Raise an Independent Child


1) Set Boundaries when your child is young.
As soon as you discover your child's strong-willed character kicking in to gear, start setting age appropriate and reasonable boundaries.  For example...your child is insistent on walking to their friend's house all by themselves.  Explain to them that they are more than welcome to do this; but that they can only do that if they a) don't leave the house without letting you know first.  b) allow you to watch them go over from the corner.  And, then remind them that if they don't do either of these things, they will loose that privilege of getting to walk over by themselves.

2) Don't be a helicopter parent.
What I mean by this, is don't hover.  As much as we want to swoop in and fix every problem our kids face, doing so can really hinder their desire to be independent.  So, whenever your child insists on doing something by themselves, really let them try and do it on their own; making sure to not jump right in and help if they start to show signs of struggle.  This will be hard to do, but let your child first try and solve the problem by themselves.  And if it soon becomes apparent that just isn't going to happen, step in and start offering suggestions (i.e.  "Have you tried it this way?") then let your child try your suggestion by themselves and offer assistance when necessary.  Children gain a lot of self-confidence and pride whenever they achieve a task on their own.  So make sure to give them those opportunities whenever possible.

3) Instantly praise the good.
Just like all of us "grown-ups", children love to test the waters when it comes to the things they are wanting to try and even say.  So, as your child navigates their way through their desired independence, praise every single thing they do right.  This will reassure them that the choices they are making are the right ones and they will continue down this path with confidence.  

4) Quickly (and positively) correct the bad.
Mistakes happen.  It's part of the package deal that comes with being independent.  So, to keep your child from developing bad habits when they're older, quickly step in and correct any bad choices they make by first asking if they know why the choice they made was bad, then explaining to them why it was the wrong choice...issuing the appropriate consequence when necessasry, and finally working together to come up with a better choice or action that could be made.

5) Hang in there!
As you continue to raise your own independent child, there are going to be many times when you'll want to quickly takeover, yell, swear, completely loose your cool, etc.  But if you take the time to remind yourself that giving your child room to be independent will help them live a successful life as an adult, everything will have a better perspective and you'll find yourself actually enjoying all of the things you get to see your child achieve on their own.


There are definitely days when I contemplate shipping Emi off to the circus.  But overall, I have come to love how fiercely independent she is and can't wait to see all of the things she will discover and do!




P.S. these darling photos of Emi were taken by Roxana B. Photography and Emi's killer yellow tights are from Lunaby Baby which you can get at 10% off right now if you use the code MUMSY 10.

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