Sunday, 10 May 2020

Encouraging Toddler Independence at Mealtimes

Here are some things that E. helped me with this morning, during breakfast:
- pouring oat milk on her cereal (I would have let her put the cereal, seeds, and berries in the bowl, but I didn't want to wake my partner up, so we prepared breakfast in her room);
- peeling banana slices;
- peeling a satsuma;
- pouring water in her glass;
- choosing between a large spoon and a teaspoon;
- wiping the table;
- taking her bib off;
- putting the bowl on the tray for me to take away.

She really enjoys doing all these tasks, especially pouring. She's even better with her large pitcher, than with the tiny sauce pitcher that she had in the beginning. 

It's wonderful to be able to watch those tiny hands in action! Just a few months ago she needed my help with some of these tasks, but not anymore. It's important to let our children do age-appropriate things on their own, in order to master them and learn. 

Here are some of the things that I try to do when it comes to my daughter:
💕 I try not to do things for her that she can already do;
💕 Whenever possible, I give her options - I provide healthy food for her, but it's up to her whether or not she will eat it (I don't try to bribe her to eat,or trick her into eating). I let her choose what to eat or not to eat from her plate. (although at times it's really frustrating when she doesn't eat well, but these are phases that come and go)
💕 I give her age appropriate tasks: follow your child and you will know what she can do.
💕 I usually choose small tasks to involve her in cooking
💕 We made our kitchen accessible (a stool, a kitchen helper, small plates, cups, cutlery, a safe environment that she can explore)
💕 We involve her in cooking, even if sometimes it doesn't turn out perfect or the kitchen is a mess - we enjoy the process!
💕 I try to give her one task at a time, not to overwhelm her with too many instructions to remember.

How do you encourage your children's independence? I'd love to hear your ideas.


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