Developing your child’s autonomy: our advice
Developing your child’s independence
“Me all alone”. This sweet phrase, uttered several times a day by your child, has a way of irritating you. Welcome to the autonomy phase, when your little one refuses your help. Be patient, because this step towards autonomy is important. Find out more about our tips to help your child sail towards independence and freedom.
What is autonomy in children?
Autonomy enables a young child to meet his or her own needs, so as to feel fulfilled and confident in his or her own abilities. Autonomy also helps develop self-esteem, a useful skill at every stage of life. Some parents dread this phase, which they see as a stage when their child no longer needs them. On the contrary, don’t worry. Your child will always need you… even when he or she has acquired all the skills needed to make the right choices, now and in the future.
At what age does a baby develop autonomy?
At birth, your newborn is totally dependent on you for survival. Then, as time goes by, he learns to express himself, to grasp objects, to walk on all fours, on his own two legs… and finally to fly with his own wings. Until that day comes, it’s up to you, the parents, to show him the way to independence.
In general, children ask to do things on their own from the age of 18 months – obviously, this figure is an indication, not a norm! From this age onwards, some babies begin to show a desire to manage without their parents. In their daily lives, they want to be able to “do everything themselves”.
At around 18 months, your baby is asking for more autonomy: it’s far from easy, because he’s feeling his way around. His trials are sometimes successful and sometimes… unsuccessful! From time to time, certain actions turn into little blunders that take time to repair.
It’s up to you, parents, to have a good dose of patience to follow your little adventurer in his desires, but also in the face of his famous “No, all alone! The famous “terrible two” is never far away in the acquisition of autonomy… The key is to help him, without doing things for him.
What’s more, if your child has some basic autonomy, he’ll be better prepared for his arrival at school when he’s 3. In another article, we’ll give you tips on how to prepare your children for the start of the new school year.
In any case, it’s essential to encourage your child’s needs and let him “do it”… even if he fails or is late for nursery or school.
8 ideas for developing your child’s independence
So how can you support your child’s development towards independence? Follow our ideas:
1. Create a special space
Set up a special corner in your home for your child. Create a corner in your living room, adapt his room to his needs and size with various elements: provide an easily accessible and secure child’s bed, a small chair, his table and stool, where he can play, draw and explore in peace. Having a room at his height will be easier for him.
2. Encourage free play
Let your child decide what he wants to do. It’s fascinating to observe his little world and environment in the process. What will he choose and how will he go about it? Free play stimulates creativity, decision-making and independence. For your part, you get to know his preferences and observe his little gestures. FA-SCI-NANT we say!
3. Be patient and let go
When your child learns or wants to do things on his own, offer words of encouragement. When he knocks over the pencil cup for the 8th time today and refuses your help to put everything back, breathe and let go. These steps are part of his learning process. Our tip for keeping calm? When Junior wants to dress himself, or put on his shoes when you’re in a hurry, give him one step to complete, like putting on a sleeve or attaching a single Velcro fastener… then help him with the rest, explaining that he can do more the next day.
4. Involve your child in daily chores
Depending on his age, invite your child to take part in simple activities such as :
- Pour ingredients into a salad bowl,
- Cook with you,
- Set the table,
- Put toys away,
- Wipe up or sweep up messes,
- Wash windows,
- Do some household chores…
For example, our Hiro stool will fit into your kitchen and help your child to be at the right height. These moments reinforce the feeling of belonging and importance. You give your child the feeling of being “able”.
5. Say yes and be surprised
When we’re parents, we say “no” a lot. Sometimes it becomes a reflex, and we forget that our children grow up fast. In our hurried lives, minutes are also counted. We’re afraid of wasting time. Leaving a complete task to your child – who gets upset because he’s frustrated at not being able to do it – can become very difficult for adults. So let go and press the pause button in these situations. Let your fast-growing child surprise you!
6. Respect your child’s rhythm
Every child develops at his or her own pace. Give them time to explore and learn at their own pace, while making mistakes. There’s no need to compare, worry or hurry… The quest to acquire the basics is unique to each individual! Your child needs to feel your support and attention.
7. Your role: setting an example
Show your child the way. Think he’s too small? You never know, read point 5 again. Your child observes you in everyday life, and you’re his role model. Putting on clothes, tidying up, hanging up your coat, setting the plates at the table, bringing a dish to the table, clearing away, cleaning up, washing up, using your little chair and stool… All these everyday gestures, which may seem banal to you, are fascinating for a toddler. Children love to imitate adults and will follow your lead. Teach them how to do it beforehand, and off they go!
8. Celebrate small steps and big successes
When your child succeeds in doing something on his own, make it a joyous occasion. Applause, bravos, encouragement… It’s a chance to salute his or her efforts. Be proud of your child and give him courage. Sometimes Junior feels like giving up, and your bravos are a great initiative. Don’t hesitate to talk to him to encourage him. He’ll learn gradually.
Our daily mission: to support your family life and your children’s development towards independence. Our latest innovation, the Hiro wooden chair and stool, embodies our commitment to supporting your children’s development and growth… not to mention the design of your home!
Our new Hiro chair and stool are much more than children’s furniture. They are designed with a profound vision in mind: to encourage the learning of independence and to accompany you for as long as possible.
Their manufacture, using wood scraps from our Levo deckchair, also testifies to our commitment to sustainable development.
The Hiro chair and Hiro stool are designed for children aged 18 months and over. Slide them into your living room, around your coffee table or into the kitchen to help the little ones reach the cupboards. The stool can also be used as an elevator in the bathroom for running the water, washing hands, brushing teeth… Onwards to learning and growing.
At Charlie Crane, we’re committed to creating unforgettable experiences for your family. With our little wooden chair and stool, we hope to offer not only designer children’s furniture, but also tools to cultivate your child’s independence, confidence and lifelong memories.
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