How to Teach Independence?

How can I teach my toddler to do things independently?
profile picture of Jeanette Sawyer Cohen, PhD, clinical assistant professor of psychology in pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City
ByJeanette Sawyer Cohen, PhD, clinical assistant professor of psychology in pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City
Pediatric Psychologist
Updated
Feb 2017
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You’ve probably become more patient since you started this whole parenthood thing. And you’re going to have to practice patience even more as your toddler learns to become more independent.

For example, she tells you she can’t finish the puzzle she’s doing. Instead of jumping right in and telling her which piece goes where, you’re going to have to tell her you’ll help a little. Go ahead and help, but let her do a lot of it herself, and make sure she’s the one to finish the job. That will give her a sense of accomplishment and the confidence to try again next time.

Remember that children each progress at their own rate. It’s not always fast — and there will be setbacks along the way. But the more you can allow them to do on their own without stepping in, the more they’ll be likely to try for themselves again and again.

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