Independent Children

Independence is a milestone toddlers strive to achive in the early years of life. Learn more about what to expect from your children at this stage of development.

People of all walks of life strive to meet their goal for independence. For a toddler, independence is a whole new world opening up. You will see your child blossom right before your eyes as they use their own mind to make decisions on their own.

Toddlers usually show the first signs of true independence around a year and a half in age. Some sooner, some later. Their drive may be strong one day and not so adamant the next, but rest assured those gears are working in that head on what they can try out next.

Patience is key during this time in your child's life. Your toddler will test the limits. Praise your child if he or she does something good on his own and be ready with discipline measures if something goes awry. The word "NO" is likely to be one of the most used words in your toddler's vocabulary. Using this word gives them power, hence they use it a lot. Give your toddler choices, but not too many. If it is dinner he is deciding on, two choices are good. If it is more than that, they may get overwhelmed.

For parents, their toddler's newfound independence may be a mixed blessing. Some feel a sense of relief that their baby is not so helpless anymore and some may feel a sense of loss that their little baby is growing up. Having a toddler is a lot of work. Limits will be tested, tantrums will be thrown and new fears will emerge.

Temper tantrums are very common in children beginning around the age of two. This is why they call it the "terrible twos". A tantrum can occur for any number of reasons. Some of the more common reasons are because the child did not get what he or she desired or the child may be hungry or tired. Parents need to remember to keep their cool in tantrum situations. If your child sees you out of control, he will feel more out of control himself.

Along with independence come new fears. Fear is a protective emotion designed for the toddler to know when it is time to seek the protection of an adult or parent. A parent should comfort the child in this time of need. Not doing so will create a complex in your child and the independence they have worked so hard for will diminish.

Some examples of fears would be an animal or a monster in the closet or the drain in the bathtub sucking them down with the water. Children have very active imaginations and conquering these fears should be a number one priority for parents.

Always remember to be patient with your toddler. This time can be frustrating yet very rewarding for both parent and toddler alike. Love and praise will give your toddler the tools he or she needs to grow up to be a happy healthy adult one day.

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