How to Organize to Encourage Toddler Independence

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 8.59.42 AMIt’s time to let go and give your toddler the freedom to do more on their own! Trust me, I know how hard it can be to relinquish the control and let your toddler do more for themselves–especially since it can take them so much longer to complete a task that you could do in seconds–but it’s worth it. As a former Pre-K teacher, I’ve seen the difference in children that have had the independence to do for themselves at an early age and it only improves as they get older. There are a few different areas in the house that you can increase their independence. Here are some tips on how to do it.

The Kitchen
Designate a drawer or lower cabinet for their dishes. This will be where you keep all of their dishes. When they’re able to reach something on their own, it’s easier to get them to hand you something and be a part of the process. If they want a snack, first have them get themselves a plate or a bowl to put it in. As they get older you can even keep a small pitcher of water on a table that is their height with a cup so they can pour their own water.

Snack boxes have also been a wonderful tool that helps not only with independence but also helps to avoid fights over snacks. All you need is a plastic bucket in the pantry at a height they can reach and another one in the fridge, also at a height that they can reach on their own or with the help of a step stool. The trick here is to keep only foods that you want them to eat in there. If you have healthy snacks in their snack boxes, they’re much less likely to complain about the snack simply because they got to pick which of the snacks they wanted.

In the Closet

Investing in a shower curtain rod that you can put at their level is worth every penny. Another great thing to do is to have plastic buckets on the floor with the rest of their clothes. Having everything at their level not only gives them the independence to start dressing themselves but also makes it a good way to transition them into helping put away their own laundry. Sure, you may have to re-fold everything in there but just getting them used to doing it on their own is worth the extra work.

Around the House
Make a note of other places you can make things more accessible around the house. For example, make sure that they can easily reach some of their toys and can put them away. Or maybe you can give them their own shelf on a bookshelf so they can grab their own books without your help. Even little things that allow them the freedom to do things on their own will help them develop independence and also make it easier for them to help with chores–like putting away their laundry and dishes!

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor and online fitness coach. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their grove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.

 

 

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