Parenting Toddler Tips: How to Nurture Your Toddler's Independence

The parenting toddler tips below will help you understand what your child needs and are especially helpful for inexperienced or harried parents. Even parents who have older children will gain insight from this advice.

Toddlers are a joy to behold, but sometimes their willful, defiant behavior can try the patience of even the most calm and centered adult. Children at the toddler stage are beginning to exert their independence. Although this is what creates parent-child conflict, parents must begin to recognize that this is a necessary step in healthy child development. In the parenting toddler tip section below, we'll examine three important tips that will help you understand what your child needs from you and how to create a loving and supportive environment in which your child can begin to explore free choice and his growing need for independence.

3 Parenting Toddler Tips:

  • Set boundaries by giving a limited number of choices. If you are dressing your toddler for preschool and she throws a fit because she doesn't want to wear the top you've chosen, don't force the issue. Remind yourself that your toddler is developing her will and in order to become her own person, she must exercise it. Who better to do this with than someone she feels safe with—her mom or dad. Once you've made the decision not to get into a battle of wills over something that doesn't matter, present her with a "limited choice." Take two new shirts out of her drawer and ask, "Would you like to wear the red one or the blue one?" By giving her a choice (but just a choice between two or at most, three things), you are supporting her burgeoning identity.

    If your child continues to throw a tantrum, this may be an indication of an unmet need. Maybe your toddler needs a hug. Maybe she needs you to take more time in the morning, so she doesn't feel so rushed. Maybe she did not have a good night's sleep or is cranky because she had a sugary cereal for breakfast. It is up to you to don your investigative hat to discover what your child needs. When you meet her needs, everyone will be happy. Don't be dismayed if you can't immediately uncover the source of the problem right away. Sometimes, a tantrum is just an explosion of energy that allows your child to vent pent-up emotion.

  • Another important parenting toddler tip is to let your child learn how to struggle for what she wants. For instance, if your child wants to get up on the couch (which is a developmentally appropriate task for a toddler), let her try first on her own. Don't instantly give her a boost. Allowing her to struggle to do a task that is almost doable for her teaches her to strive for what she wants. As she gets progressively closer to her goal, she gains a growing sense of competence. Of course, you don't want to sit and watch while your toddler is frustrated to tears. If the task is too hard for her, give her a little help and then increasingly less help over time.

  • When parenting toddler, it is important to remember that toddlers are on the cusp of childhood. There will be times when your toddler needs to babied, held and comforted and times when she needs to exercise her sense of independence. Rather than get upset at your child's outbursts and swings of temperament, expect them. As difficult as this time may be for you, it is even more difficult and confusing for your child. When you understand that your child is becoming her own little person, separate from you, then you can respond to her acts of defiance in a calm and centered way which will benefit you both.

Practicing these parenting toddler tips will make the toddler years a memorable and enjoyable time for you both.

About the author:
Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning book, parenting class that can be taken from the comfort of your home. She lives with her husband and two children in the sage-dotted foothills of Northern Nevada. Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting . This is the only book that combines ancient native concepts (such as stewardship) with heart-centered psychology to show parents how to raise children to develop their strengths and unfold their spiritual nature. It takes parenting to a whole new level and a journey of self-discovery for child and parent. Laura also teaches a parenting class that is given via teleseminar and can be taken from the comfort of your home. Laura lives in the sage-dotted Nevada foothills with her husband and two children.

Return from Parenting Toddler to Family Matters Parenting Magazine home


Copyright & copy; 2006 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved. This article may not be copied in full or in part without the express written permission of the author, however, you may link to it from your web site, forum or blog. parenting a toddler

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.