Letting your child or toddler gain his own sense of independence is not only an important part of his growth as a burgeoning child, but of yours as the burgeoning parent of that child as well. As parents, it is our responsibility to shelter our children, babies and toddlers from harm. But doing so too much or with too strict an intervention can keep him from gaining his own sense of self and can thwart his need for learning through independent exploration.
Your toddler is at the specific age where he is doing things that we, as parents, may find frightening. Toddlers learn to run by age 18 months and by two years of age, your own toddler may be challenging even the most risky of adventures. Climbing on furniture, rolling over and over again across the floor or even banging his head on things when frustrated is just a normal part of your toddler’s life as he seeks to gain an understanding of his own wants and needs. These behaviors, while sometimes disturbing, are harmless and will allow for independent discovery of self.
Letting your toddler gain his independence must be done slowly but assuredly and with safety and common sense. Follow the simple steps below to gain a better understanding of ways to allow your growing child the emotional room to gain his independence safely and securely.
- Consider the personality of your particular toddler. If your toddler tends to shy away from more social interaction, give him space to gain his own judgment as to his surroundings and those people who will be in them. Do not force your baby or toddler aged child into independent social interaction if he is visibly uncomfortable doing so.
- If your toddler is the adventurous, independent type of child, then finding a socially age appropriate outlet for his rambunctious needs would be a marvelous idea. Toddler play dates or businesses which cater to such needs are ideal for the more independent child.
- Helping your toddler to gain an understanding of his limitations is also suggested for both the independent as well as the quieter, more withdrawn child. This can only be done by letting your toddler discover his own mistakes by letting him make them. If he starts to fall while walking, let him. A small fall as this is harmless and will teach him physical stability and coordination.
- Let your toddler walk as much as possible without your assistance. If your toddler is gaining strength in his legs, allow him the opportunity to use them by letting him run and play vigorously.
- Let your toddler indulge in activities independent of you. Give your toddler choices to gain an understanding of his own likes and dislikes.