Wednesday, August 12, 2009

19-Month-Old Toddler Development: Me Do It


Right about now, your two-foot-tall dictator is probably cruising full throttle into the "Me do it!" phase. Your toddler has finally got it that he's his own person, and, boy, is he going to prove it. From pushing the shopping cart to putting on his shoes, he's bound and determined that he'll take care of it himself! Outta my way, Mama!

What you're thinking: "I really do want you to learn to put on your shirt, but does it have to be when I'm 30 minutes late for an appointment?"

Ideally...

    Though it's enough to make you a little nutty sometimes, believe it or not, there's an upside to your toddler's insistence on independence. By insisting on calling the shots, he's actually developing a sense of who he is. (Which means someday he'll actually have the wherewithal to get a job and move out—and that's a good thing.) Here are a few things you can do to help foster your kid's budding independence without losing your mind:
  • Make sure to childproof to the max, and feel free to let your little explorer loose. Now that your kid can get up and go and he's got the gumption to set out on his own, he's going to get into everything he can!
  • Try to grin and bear it when your toddler rebels against you and insists on doing something you find utterly absurd (as long as it's safe). In other words, next time he insists on wearing his Halloween costume to bed, Zorro mask and all, let him. He'll feel like "the man" and you'll avoid a tantrum.
  • As your kid gets older, start to give him choices. It's a good idea to limit them to two, i.e. "Would you like to walk to the park or drive?" That said, it's still a good idea to set boundaries and follow through with discipline when needed.
  • Don't jump in and do everything for your kid. Let him try to put on his own shoes, even if that means it takes 40 minutes and they end up backwards on the wrong feet. But don't let your kid get so frustrated with a task that he breaks down because you'll just end up in Tantrum City (and hello, you've been there far too often these days!).
  • Finally, don't think your kid's independence streak gives him license to become a little monster. Sure, you want to foster his sense of self, but within reason. Developing independence or not, you're still the boss!

Really...

"From the moment she arrived, Simone made a point to let us know she was independent. She found her thumb at 3 months, slept through the night, never needed to be rocked, cuddled or soothed. It was apparent very early on that she had a flair for getting what she needed without our help... but, sometimes it does feel like rejection."

thanks to Parents Connect for providing this wonderful information!

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