19 - 21 Months

Teach your toddler to do more on their own in 4 steps

Hundreds of Lovevery families answered our poll about how often they let their toddler “do it themselves.” Many always or usually let their toddlers try a task like putting laundry in a bin or pulling off their own socks. But there were plenty who do it sometimes or not often. 

We understand—your child needs you for so many things, and sometimes moving at toddler speed just isn’t practical. 

There are reasons to slow down and let them try anyway. Allowing your toddler to practice each part of a self-care skill with you boosts their confidence and independence. Gradually, they’ll put the parts together and, eventually, it will be faster to let them do the whole thing on their own 😉

4 steps to support your toddler’s “all by myself” stage

1. Break down tasks into mini-skills

Before your child can put on their own socks, they need to learn many smaller skills—-scrunching up a sock, stretching it over their toes, then pulling it down over their foot, around their heel, and up their ankle. To start, choose one “mini-skill” to practice each day. 

2. Start with a simple step

Focus on a mini-skill that helps your child feel successful right away. This sense of accomplishment will likely motivate them to try more and more complex steps. For example, if you let your child pull their shirt down over their stomach a few times, they may be willing to put their hand in an arm hole next. 

Give them the language to describe each new mini-skill and acknowledge their exciting accomplishment: “You pulled your shirt down over your belly.” 

3. Link steps together over time

Build in a slight pause before or after your child’s part of a task. Once your toddler is confident bringing the Montessori Placemat to the table, pause and wonder aloud: “What’s next?” 

Your toddler may run to get their plate. If they don’t, offer a verbal prompt: “Let’s go get your plate.” If they’re still uncertain, go get it together. As you repeat the routine, your toddler’s understanding of the sequence will continue to grow. 

4. Is your child ready for more?

Continue to look for ways to allow your toddler more autonomy in everyday tasks. Giving your child a small job can increase their feeling of accomplishment and smooth an otherwise tricky transition. Let them carry a bag to the car as you leave the playground or turn on the faucet at bath time. Each time you do, you’re reminding them just how capable they are ❤️


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Posted in: 19 - 21 Months, 22 - 24 Months, Social Emotional, Independence, Lovevery App, Child Development

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