i want to do it myself!

How to handle your child's growing sense of independence, without power struggles!

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From their first word to their first step, you have always been there for your little one's milestones. What to do when they decide to declare independence from you? Here are some tips on how to deal with your little Mr. or Miss Independent.
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I want to do it myself!

Young children communicate their feelings physically--via touching and feeling--before their language skills are fully developed. They are eager to discover, learn, and explore under your supervision.

Take this opportunity to: Show them how to get things done and avoid power struggles by not taking over.

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I want to dress myself!

They could barely talk and walk before, and now they are your family's toughest little fashion critic? If you want to minimize the chances of your toddlers saying "no" to your outfit preference for them, give them some options, which will empower them but ultimately allow you to carefully guide and vet their fashion choices. To keep your little ones from being overwhelmed with too many options, try giving them a selection between two outfits at first. Then, they can choose between two shirts, two pairs of pants, or two pairs of shoes, etc.

Take this opportunity to: Show them how to pair up socks, tie shoelaces, learn names for each piece of clothing and color, and button or zip up.

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I want to feed myself!

Tired of dealing with your little ones who are at odds with their "natural" utensils--their hands? Let them experiment with kid-friendly utensils and sippy cups during meal times. On the bright side, their hands will (almost) stay clean after their meal!

Take this opportunity to: Teach your toddlers the names of the utensils and where your family traditionally places them. You may want to place the knife yourself and let your little ones know it's a utensil parents are in charge of.

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I want to go bathroom myself!

When all signs point to your toddlers being ready for potty training and transitioning from diapers to underpants, you may consider using a disposable training pant. Most brands look, fit, and train like underwear, but without the mess.

Take this opportunity to: Teach your toddlers the basics of hygiene. Show them where urine and stool belong--in the toilet--not in their underwear. And most important of all, after flushing the toilet and cleaning up, they need to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water.

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When little ones start their march toward independence, it can be an anxious or even frustrating time for a parent, so keep your sense of humor about it. After all, does it really matter if your child decides to wear plaid pants with a striped shirt, or occasionally decides to eat her peas with a spoon? Keep an open mind and recognize this is part of another big milestone your little ones are achieving--becoming their own person.

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Find more information about potty training readiness or transitioning from diapers to trainers, visit Potty Training Strategies: The Readiness Method.

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