Monday, January 23, 2012

Encouraging Independence

For a while now Ella has been wanting to do everything by herself. This transition is kind of a strange for me – going from having to do everything for my tiny baby to allowing my toddler to do things by herself. Sometimes these changes are liberating to me as a mother: it is helpful at times that Ella can put her shoes on by herself or that she can pick up her toys or that she can buckle one of the buckles on her car seat. Sometimes, however, I struggle with allowing her to do these things herself. If we are in a hurry or running late (which seems to happen all too often), it usually is much faster for me to do those things for her, which is only discouraging to her. At times she can get quite upset when I “take over” her responsibilities. And, really, I do understand her desire to want to do these things by herself.

Sure, there are going to be times that I need to do these tasks for her for whatever reason. And she needs to understand that’s not a reason to throw a fit. BUT, I need to understand that I need to encourage her and help her to learn to do all these different things. I need to exhibit patience with her because she is only 2 (well, almost 3), and she doesn’t know how to do a lot of these things. Part of my role as her mama is to teach her these things, and to NOT get frustrated when she doesn’t do it right the first time or takes a long time to complete a task. When I let my impatience rule I’m only exhibiting a selfish attitude; very far from the attitude I ought to be exhibiting.


I’m amazed at the patience my husband displays with Ella (that I know I don’t always have!). He’s so good about letting her help him with special tasks – often things that he could get done more quickly by himself. Her eyes light up when he asks her to go help him get the trash together before the trash pickup comes or when he asks her to help him crush the cans for recycling (she picks up the ones he crushes and puts them away). I’ve also been trying to embrace giving Ella tasks such as putting clothes in the washing machine or taking the clean laundry to the appropriate bedroom. Yes, when Ella helps me out, these tasks take longer. BUT I need to train her to learn to do these things and much more, and I must have patience in the process!

I really do love watching her learn new things (I’m really amazed at what she picks up on!), and I don’t ever want to discourage her from learning. I need to encourage her independence without allowing my impatience to rule those situations.  I love Ella so much: watching her grow and learn new things are great blessings in my life!