Here are some ideas to help your toddler learn vital independence skills…
Simple tasks such as clearing away a plate or getting their bag from upstairs might seem insignificant to you, but they’re huge steps towards independence for little ones. It gives them a sense of importance, and makes them feel like they’re making a real contribution to family life.
Tip: baking together is a fun way to introduce the idea of following instructions, such as pouring, mixing, and even weighing and measuring for older children. Check out these fun recipes to try together.
Allow little ones plenty of time to master new skills. Wait for a time when the pressure is off - don’t try to perfect putting their own coat and shoes on when you’re running out the door to nursery, but let them try at the weekend when you’re heading out to the park.
Tip: playing dress up is a great way to practice getting dressed and undressed. Clothing with chunky buttons and zips are easier for little hands at first.
Give clear instructions
Try to give children just one task at a time to focus on. Keep your instructions clear and simple. Little ones find it hard to filter out background noise, so make sure there are no distractions such as the TV or tablet if you’re explaining something new.
Tip: make sure to celebrate when they’ve tried a new skill. Focusing on effort rather than achievement helps encourage kids to keep trying new things.
Offer some responsibility
Once they’ve got the hang of simpler tasks, give your little one a regular job such as setting the table, caring for family pets or collecting paper for recycling. It’ll make them feel really grown up, just like Peter Rabbit, and help develop a sense of responsibility.
Tip: if you’ve got more than one child at home, you could swap the jobs around regularly so that everyone keeps learning new things.
Make it fun
Toddlers love helping, but once household tasks are an everyday part of life the novelty can quickly wear off, so try to think of ways to make them more exciting. Sort the laundry together while listening to your favourite music, or have a race to see who can tidy up a room the quickest.
Tip: Some household tasks can be easily made into a game - such as matching pairs of socks!