Living"I can alone": nine keys and practical examples to...

"I can alone": nine keys and practical examples to accompany children in this phase of their development

Does your little one reject your help and wants to do everything alone? Expressions like “I don’t like this!”, “Not you, get out!” or “I know how to do it myself!” are a constant in your vocabulary? Welcome to this new phase of child development with the conquest of independence as the main sign of identity!

We explain what the characteristics of this stage are and how we can accompany our children through some everyday examples that are sure to be familiar to you.

The conquest of independence

Between the ages of two and three, children enter a negativist stage known colloquially as the “NO stage.” In this phase of development, the child begins to show his disagreement with adults, he wants to do things alone, he does not accept our help and he feels good exercising his will.

Psychologists consider this stage as a moment of self-affirmation . The child begins to realize that by saying ‘no’ the behavior of the adult changes, and although he is not yet aware of the scope of his refusal, he feels good showing that he too has the capacity to decide (although logically, their reasoning ability is not yet developed).

To this is added that the child begins to realize that he is an independent person from his mother and father , and as such he wishes to exercise his independence.

This important step in their cognitive development is accompanied by incredible advances in their motor development and a growing capacity for observation. All this will make the child feel physically capable of doing things for himself, based above all on imitation.

As the child grows, his abilities and skills will also mature, and this will allow him to do things better and faster. That is why it is so important to accompany children at this stage in a positive and respectful way, contributing to the forging of a healthy personality and self-concept.

How should parents act?

For parents, this stage that our children go through can become really exhausting , since their times, rhythms and abilities collide head-on with our needs and the maelstrom of our day-to-day life.

But it is essential to be aware that the way in which we raise, educate and accompany our children in their early years will have a great impact on their psychological and emotional development , as well as on the formation of healthy self-esteem.

Here are some tips that could help you:

1) Value your initiative and tenacity

As happens to us adults, children also need to feel useful and essential in their family and in their community. Knowing that their contributions are heard, valid and taken into account allows them to grow with confidence and security.

In this sense, it is normal for our son to want to do things for himself and continually show his willingness to help us: he feels capable, and wants to prove it.

Let’s value his initiative and his tenacity, and let’s not quench his will to show us everything he can do.
  • Practical example

If your young child wants to help you with the housework, but insists on doing something for which he is trained, applaud his initiative, thank him for his commitment and make him see how you could use his help in another matter:

“It’s wonderful that you want to help me! Thank you! But if you want, instead of cooking we could do the laundry together. We need clean clothes for tomorrow and your help is important to me! Will you join me?”

2) Don’t tell him he can’t do it: teach him

The “no” is one of the strongest, most powerful and powerful words we have in our vocabulary. It is a word that conveys unwavering ideas and that carries with it a feeling of rejection and coercion. Parents use the word “no” too often, especially when it comes to forbidding the child to do certain things .

Let’s stop denying children the opportunity to do things for themselves, let’s not tell them what they can’t do or what they are doing wrong: let’s teach them to do it differently.

  • Practical example

If your little one insists on climbing the stairs and still doesn’t know how to do it, instead of blocking his way and denying him the opportunity to learn, teach him how to do it safely.

3) Let him try, even if he makes a mistake

When children are able to do something for themselves , it is essential that we give them the opportunity to try and not do things for them, even if we know in advance that they are going to fail.

And it is that obviously, there will be many things that due to their age and their abilities they will not do well at first, but we should never weigh down their attempts or lecture them with lapidary phrases such as “see? I told you that you are still too young to try to do it alone “ .

  • Practical example

Children love to dress themselves from a very young age, and although they have not yet developed the skills and abilities that allow them to do it well, it is important that we allow them to practice.

So that they do not get frustrated in their attempt, you can provide them with simple clothes to put on, such as socks, hats or open jackets.

4) Teach him to learn from his mistakes

There is nothing wrong with making a mistake . On the contrary, children need to make mistakes to learn and understand that their mistakes are essential “rehearsals” that will allow them to do things better and better.

When your child messes up, show him where he went wrong, show him how to do better next time, and be the respectful guide he needs to learn.

  • Practical example

If, while trying to do things on their own, your little one accidentally spills the milk, for example, teach him how to clean it up with the help of a cloth. In this way, the child will realize that everything has a solution, and that there is no error that cannot be repaired.

5) Show him limited options

If you feel like you’ve gotten into a constant battle with your child over what he wants to do and what you want him to do, try giving him limited options to make his own decisions, but within the framework that you consider. With this we contribute to the development of their personality, as well as the creation of a healthy self-esteem.

  • Practical example

If your son wants to choose his own clothes, try giving him limited and concrete options. In addition to being beneficial for the child (when it comes to young children, having a large number of options can be overwhelming), you will ensure that their choice is appropriate to the situation.

“Which shirt do you want to wear today, the red one or the green one?”

6) Do not deny him the opportunity to explore

The child’s brain at this stage of life has important differences from the adult brain. Among these differences is impulsiveness and spontaneity, but also the need to learn through experimentation.

Young children have an innate curiosity that leads them to want to touch everything, experiment, explore and analyze the cause and effect of things. This curiosity is gradually increasing , and it is important that parents promote it by respecting their creativity, their freedom of movement and free play.

  • Practical example

If you go to the countryside and your child insists on climbing a big tree, preventing him from doing so is denying him the opportunity to experience, enjoy and learn from nature. But if we let him do it, we won’t be looking out for his safety. Explain the situation and offer another alternative.

“Climbing that tree could be dangerous for you; it’s too high and you could fall and hurt yourself. How about you climb this little mound instead and tell me what you see from above?”

7) Be patient with their rhythms

Parents often get desperate when children want to do things for themselves, especially if we are in a hurry. However, we must be patient and respectful, and not expect more from them than they are capable of giving.

It is true that the tasks will be carried out more slowly, and that the child will make mistakes over and over again. But the solution is easy: recalculate the times, forget about the rush, and motivate the child to continue discovering everything he is capable of doing.

8) Encourage, encourage and give him confidence

When we encourage our son we are encouraging him to act, to think, to explore, to give his opinion… without focusing on the final result of his behavior. The child who is encouraged feels able to do things for himself, to discover his own talent and self-evaluate.

During this phase of their development in which children enjoy testing their abilities and doing things for themselves, the encouragement and encouragement of their parents also allows them to discover their own strengths and virtues, experience the consequences of their actions, learn mistakes and understand the importance and value of effort and improvement.

9) Celebrate his achievements and teach him to take pride in them

For a child, receiving recognition from their parents is extremely important, as it makes them feel loved and accepted. Therefore, we must combine encouragement with praise for their effort, their perseverance, their tenacity… regardless of the result obtained.

  • For example

!! Congratulations!! You managed to do it yourself! You must be really proud of how hard you’ve tried. I am too!

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