Independent yet helpless

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episkopos's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 05/12/12
Posts: 9
Independent yet helpless

I have a pre school todd who is absolutely fun to be with as she is learning and discovering new things in life daily. She wants to choose her own clothes, decide what to eat or where to sit when we go to the restaurant and yet she cannot dress herself or feed herself properly. How do you deal with this without stifling their development. Please share your experience if you have my type at home or have just gone through with your child.

MissyJ's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3289

Hi and welcome to! It seems that your little one is caught in that in-between stage -- literally between wanting to spread her wings and independence... but not quite developmentally being able to fulfill those fully on her own.

You don't mention specifically what age she is, but it definitely sounds like it is perfectly normal. For clothing, one suggestion is to pick a few options such as two pairs of shorts and two tops... and let her pick the combination. To help foster her dressing, select clothing with wide openings or big buttons to aid little hands to maneuver.

Same idea with eating. Choose foods that are easier to allow her to practice and improve that dexterity! We place our toddler's bowl or plate on a tray to help catch spills or messes. (It isn't a perfect solution but it works.) As our little ones are learning to feed themselves, we tend to allow them to do their best first and then help as needed to get more in. Look for cups that are easy to drink from. With our youngest, she actually HATED the "sippy" type cups, preferring those with simple straws inserted. (Not the non-leak kind unfortunately.)

Let us know what age you are dealing with and what challenges you have the most. I'm certain others will chime in!