Giving your baby independence
You've probably seen the signs. Grabbing a spoon during meals, pulling her socks off right after you put them on, and turning the pages of her favorite book.
These are cues of independence and are completely normal. And although it may be frustrating and time-consuming to let her "do it herself," it will help your baby later if you give her a little independence now.
As your older baby reaches this age of independence, here are a few tasks you can let your baby do by herself. But remember, even an independent toddler should never be left alone. So always stay within reach.
Let her brush her teeth with a toddler-size toothbrush.
Show your baby how you brush your own teeth, and she'll try to do the same. Don't expect perfection just yet. It's the learning that counts. Be sure to help her finish the job.
Let her wash her own hands
Place a stool in front of the sink, let lukewarm water run slowly, and show your baby how to dispense and use liquid soap. Bar soaps aren't a good idea yet because they're so slippery, and some actually look like snacks to a 1-year-old.
Let her feed herself
This is a great age to let your baby experiment with food. Try new snacks that she can pick up with her fingers to practice feeding herself.
Also, try letting her experiment with a spoon. Thick foods work best for this so try your baby's favorite yogurt thickened with baby cereal. Give her a couple of baby spoons and then let her try using them.
Let her clean up her toys.
If you're lucky, she'll think it's all in good fun. Sing a cleanup song every time you do it, and before you know it she'll be singing along with you.
Give it time
Life with a toddler who insists on doing things for herself can be exhausting. It would be faster for you to wash her, feed her, and dress her, but in the long run you'll be glad you taught her so much at this early age. So for now praise her accomplishments, allow extra time for independent tasks, resist the temptation to help, and take lots of pictures.