Toddlers are at a critical stage in their development where they are learning about themselves, their surroundings, and how to interact with others. One important aspect of this development is learning independence. While it may seem daunting for parents to encourage their toddlers to be independent, it is crucial for their growth and success later in life. Teaching independence allows them to develop a sense of self, build confidence, and gain the skills necessary to tackle challenges on their own. One of the best places to start this journey is with self-care skills! Your 2-year-old will naturally gravitate toward trying things themselves and mimicking the actions of the adults and older siblings around them. Encourage their growing interest and independence by giving them the space to strengthen these skills. Wondering what self-care skills your toddler is capable of doing independently? Read on!
- Washing hands - This simple hygiene task is one of the first self-care skills your 2-year-old can learn to do independently. Encourage them by having a stool by the sink and some good smelling hand soap that lathers up really well.
- Picking up their toys - Although your 2-year-old won't be capable of giving their room a really thorough cleaning quite yet, they can certainly start learning to tidy up by picking up their toys and placing them in their toybox. It's a great habit to start right away as it will set them up to become an organized and orderly person in the future. Make it a part of their evening routine each night by having them do it right before their bedtime story. Cozy up and read a good book in a nice, clean room as a reward!
- Feeding themselves - Yes, they might get more on the table than in their mouth. Yes, you'll likely have a big mess to clean up afterward. But once your child starts showing an interest in feeding themselves, give them the room to do so! It's a necessary step to becoming a more independent child and will encourage them to be self-reliant.
- Brushing their teeth - Although they may not be able to get a real good scrub, your toddler should be able to go through the motions of brushing their teeth. Allow them to do it to the best of their ability and then go back in to give them a thorough cleaning.
- Putting on their clothes - Most 2 year olds are capable of putting on basic clothing items like shorts and a t-shirt. They may still need help with trickier items of clothing with buttons, zippers, and laces. Just be sure to give them ample time to get dressed. Having them do it minutes before rushing out the door can be very stressful and may hinder their progress more than help it.
- Putting on their shoes - Just like with clothes, your 2-year-old can start learning to put on a basic pair of shoes but will likely need help lacing or buttoning them up.
Teaching your toddler self-care skills is crucial for their self-reliance and overall development. Ultimately, by teaching your little one self-care skills and giving them the room to master it independently, we are setting them up for success and giving them the tools they need to thrive both now and in the future!