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Building Independence: Tips for Encouraging Toddlers to Do Things on Their Own

Written by: Christian Kent Aguillon

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Time to read 6 min

As much as we cherish the days of baby giggles, watching our little ones grow up is a bittersweet journey. Guiding our little ones toward independence stands as a pivotal chapter in their growth journey. We all wish we could keep them little forever, with their cute smiles and endless curiosity. Without learning how to be independent, our children might respond with frustration and defiance, experience feelings of being left out, and adopt an aloof demeanor.

Our ultimate goal is to prevent our kids from feeling lost or exposed to dangers. By fostering independence early on, we're equipping them to grow into resilient, skilled, and confident adults who are prepared to navigate life's obstacles.


Watching them take their first steps, feed themselves, or attempt to dress on their own fills us with pride and joy. However, fostering independence in toddlers is not always straightforward. It requires patience, guidance, and a supportive environment. In this blog post, we'll explore some effective tips for encouraging toddlers to do things on their own, setting them up for success in their journey towards independence.

Why it Matters

Independence is a key component in raising happy and confident kids. It boosts their self-esteem and keeps them motivated, helping them stick with tasks even when they get tough, especially in school. When kids feel in charge of their own lives, they're more self-reliant and confident in their abilities. This sense of control is not just about feeling important; it also helps them make friends and feel connected to the world around them.


Learning independence helps kids understand themselves better and teaches them empathy, encouraging them to lend a hand to others. It's also about finding their own drive to achieve their goals, giving them the freedom to pursue what matters to them. This belief in their own skills makes kids more resilient and better equipped to face life's challenges. They become savvy decision-makers, weighing their options carefully to make the best choices.

mom play with little toddler

Additionally, independence is about developing patience, concentration, cooperation, discipline, and trust in themselves. It allows them to fully experience life and learn from it, leading to a sense of fulfillment and well-being from their own achievements. In short, fostering independence in your children sets them up for a healthy, successful, and happy life.

Challenges for both toddlers and parents

Figuring out who's in charge, how to manage their own actions, what behavior is okay, and where the limits are, is all part of your toddler's learning journey. They're really good at picking up on who gets to decide what, and they might push the limits to see what they can get away with. When they throw a tantrum, it's an opportunity for you to teach them, by setting limits in a way that doesn't squash their creativity. Sometimes, you have to say "no" right away, like when they're doing something dangerous. But other times, you can steer them towards better choices by giving them options.


If you're a parent, especially if this is your first time, you might find yourself wanting to jump in and protect your child from everything. It's natural because everything they do is new and exciting for you. But trying to keep your child happy all the time isn't really helping them. They need to face some challenges on their own to learn important skills like dealing with frustration, solving problems, being creative, and being happy with what they have.

Mom and her twin baby

When toddlers try new things and don't always succeed, when they hear "no" from you, and when they learn what's not okay to do, they're learning a lot. They're figuring out how to handle tough situations, how to think through problems, and how to be okay even when they're not getting everything they want. Our "Time-Out" tips and other guides are here to help you teach your toddler these skills by setting clear boundaries and helping them make choices.


Interested in learning more about guiding your toddler? The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) offers insights on supporting your child's journey toward independence in daily tasks. This guidance is aimed at empowering them to accomplish tasks independently, which boosts their self-confidence and teaches essential self-care skills.

Tips for Encouraging Toddlers to Do Things on Their Own

Establish a Routine

Toddlers thrive on routine. Creating a predictable daily schedule can help them feel more secure and confident in their abilities. Set consistent times for meals, naps, and bedtime, and involve your toddler in simple tasks associated with each routine. For example, let them help set the table for meals or choose their pajamas before bedtime.

Offer Choices

Giving toddlers options allows them to feel a sense of control over their lives. Instead of dictating everything they do, offer them choices within reasonable limits. For instance, let them choose between two outfits to wear or decide which snack they'd like to have.

Encourage Self-Help Skills

Encouraging toddlers to do things for themselves promotes independence and boosts their self-esteem. Teach them age-appropriate self-help skills such as feeding themselves with utensils, drinking from a cup, and dressing themselves. Offer plenty of praise and encouragement as they master each new skill.

Be Patient and Supportive

Toddlers are still learning and developing, so it's essential to be patient and supportive as they navigate new tasks. Avoid rushing them or taking over when they're struggling. Instead, offer gentle guidance and praise their efforts, no matter how small.

Create a Safe Environment

To encourage independence, create a safe environment where toddlers can explore and play freely. Childproof your home to minimize potential hazards, and provide age-appropriate toys and activities that encourage exploration and creativity.

Promote Problem-Solving Skills

Encourage toddlers to think critically and solve problems independently. Instead of immediately jumping in to solve a problem for them, ask open-ended questions that prompt them to think of solutions on their own. This helps develop their problem-solving skills and fosters independence.

Celebrate Milestones

Celebrate your toddler's milestones and accomplishments, no matter how small. Whether it's learning to use the potty, tying their shoes, or buttoning their shirt, acknowledge their achievements and let them know how proud you are of them.

Lead by Example

Toddlers learn by watching and imitating others, so be a positive role model for independence. Show them how to do things by demonstrating tasks and letting them observe you in action. Avoid doing everything for them and instead encourage them to try things on their own with your guidance.

Encourage Independence in Play

Encourage independent play by providing toys and activities that stimulate their imagination and creativity. Give them space to explore and experiment on their own, fostering independence and self-expression.

TruHeight Toddler’s Support for Independent Growth

Proper nutrition plays a pivotal role in a toddler's growth and development, impacting everything from physical improvement to cognitive health. To reinforce their dietary intake and support their journey towards independence, introducing specialized supplements such as TruHeight Toddler products can be beneficial.

TruHeight Toddler Complete Nutrition

This comprehensive formula provides essential vitamins and minerals to support overall health and development in toddlers. With a blend of nutrients carefully selected to meet their unique nutritional needs, TruHeight Toddler Complete Nutrition helps ensure they get the nutrients they need for optimal growth and vitality.

TruHeight Toddler Bone Growth Gummy

Formulated with key nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, TruHeight Toddler Bone Growth Gummy supports healthy bone development in growing toddlers. These delicious gummies make it easy to ensure your child gets the essential nutrients they need for strong and healthy bones.

TruHeight Toddler Brain Growth Gummy

Designed to support healthy brain development, TruHeight Toddler Brain Growth Gummy contains omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients that promote cognitive function and brain health in young children. These tasty gummies are an excellent addition to your toddler's daily routine.

Conclusion

Nurturing independence in toddlers is a journey brimming with joy and growth. Every initiative they take, from selecting their outfits to tackling new challenges, significantly boosts their confidence and resilience. Our role as parents is to nurture this journey with consistent routines, thoughtful choices, and heartfelt celebration of their milestones, no matter how small.


Patience and encouragement are key as each child navigates this path at their own pace. By providing a safe environment for exploration and considering nutritional support like TruHeight Toddler supplements, we can help them develop into confident and capable individuals.


Encouraging independence is more than making parenting easier; it's about helping our kids face the world bravely and with curiosity. Let's savor every moment of this beautiful adventure, providing our toddlers with the love and guidance they need to flourish on their own.