Ways To Teach My Toddler To Be More Independent
Children need lots of positive attention, but they also need to learn to entertain themselves. Gently teach them.
· A sign of secure attachment is a toddler checking in with you. This is normal behavior.
· Help your child by giving them your quick, full attention when they keep coming to check in with you. Then you can redirect them to something new so you can continue what you were doing.
· Have a routine. This way your child knows when mommy time is. Also, when it is scheduled in your day, you are sure to have one-on-one time each day. It can be 10 minutes!
Use a Timer
· Explain to child how this works before hand. You can even role-play. This is important because you are preventing problems. “Mommy will play with you for 10 minutes. Then when the timer goes off, you get to play by yourself while mommy vacuums the floor.” Set the timer for 10 minutes and let your child know you expect them to play by themselves until the timer dings.
· This can seem like a lot of work. But remember, you are teaching your child. The most important job you have is to love and teach your kiddos.
· Give them suggestions for alone play time and pull out fun activities that can be done alone. Be mindful of what you suggest, because for example, if you pull out Barbies with impossibly fitting clothes you will be pulling on and off outfits for the next 30 minutes.
· Most kids have too many toys. Take ¼-1/2 of their toys and put them in a storage box that is easily accessible. Take some of these toys out when your child has alone playtime.
· Rotate toys monthly. It’s amazing how fun a forgotten toy can be!
Communicate and Model Good Behavior:
· When your child whines for you to play. Validate “I know it’s disappointing, I can’t play right now.” Remind kindly “Remember this is your alone play time until the timer dings.”
· Start with small amount of time and gradually increase.
· Safety first! Always know where your toddler is and what they are doing. Toddler’s need supervision.
It’s okay if things don’t work perfectly!
· Ask, am I expecting 6 year old behavior from my toddler? Have realistic expectations.
· Don’t feel guilty! You are not your child’s friend, you are the parent. You are teaching important life skills. If your kids are sad, it’s okay. Validate their feelings, but stick to the plan. You want a child who can learn these skills so when they go to school, they can be successful.