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Toddler Tales: Helping Your Child Find Independence

If you're reading this, then you just stumbled across "Toddler Tales". This addition will be covering my daughter's new found independence and the ways that I've been able to foster her growth. As mentioned in previous posts, my child is a strong willed three year old who is slowly finding her voice as she navigates the world of speech therapy. Lately, she's been so expressive and adamant about what she wants to eat, the clothes she wants to wear, and everything else in between.

Kickin' it with a toddler is one of the best parts of parenting because they will tell you like it is, no chaser, no filter! Most recently, my toddler has been an advocate for herself in the areas of dress and feeding. Typically, she loves to eat pizza, French fries, rice and chicken, but her new found love for waffles is over the top. One day in particular, I made her what I thought was an extravagant meal; fried sweet plantains, stewed pork chops, rice and steamed vegetables. This girl had the audacity to open the freezer door and tell me "No, no rice. Haffles. Mommy, haffles". So, wounded and flabbergasted me, did what? I made her the waffles; she cleared that plate like a vacuum.

Now for what is usually the fun part of having a mini me, fun with wardrobe. Usually, we spend weekends going to indoor playgrounds, museums, or for a bite to eat, therefore, I love to get her all dolled up. Yet again, I end up heartbroken when I see she's thrown her purse on the floor, and just wants to wear her "blue shoes". Even with all of her options of shoes, "blue shoes" seems to always place first on her list.

While waffles and blue shoes aren't my ideal choices, they have taught me that this is my child learning to advocate for herself and communicate her wants. For so long I've waited for these moments where she could form intelligible and communicative statements. Where I could know what she wanted and understand her.

This new found independence has allowed me to reflect on ways that I can foster her love of language with just a few easy tricks:

  1. I allow her to choose what she wants to wear I tend to show her two options of shirts and let her decide which one she wants to wear. Once she has picked, I assist her in dressing herself.

  2. I give her the opportunity to cook with me Typically, I will let her shake the seasonings onto the foods that we will be cooking that night, frost her own cupcakes , and guide her with pouring herself a drink.

  3. I allow her to help me with tasks that involve her routine If it's bath time, I provide her with her soap, toothbrush (with toothpaste already squeezed onto it) and washcloth. She gets so excited to bathe herself that she's learned how to pump out her own soap onto her washcloth!

  4. I affirm her with positive reinforcement and constructive feedback When she's completing tasks, I always let her try them first without providing any guidance. Should she need help, I remind her that she should say "help me please" or I model what she should do. After she's completed the task successfully, I tell her how wonderfully she did, and she usually gives me a big hug.

  5. I reward her.

My child loves lollipops or as she calls them "p-ah-pops". At the end of the week, she will be rewarded with two; one on Friday and one on Saturday.


How do you help your little one find their voice? Leave us a comment below.

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