The Toddlerhood Stage and Independence

Toddlers – one to three year olds are balls of energy, vitality and curiosity.

They’re busy trying to master so many skills all at once like talking, walking and climbing.  For most toddlers the biggest challenge is becoming their very own person.  When your little one starts trying to assert her independence you’re likely to hear a lot of “NO” and “I DO IT MYSELF".  

REJOICE – although this behavior may be difficult to tolerate, this means that she is developing her own identity.  Of course, with independence comes the gradual separateness from parents but nurturing that independence is one of the most vital gifts you will ever give your child.



The meaning we ascribe to a word fuels our perception of the behavior or intent behind it.  During toddler years it is tempting to describe a toddler as defiant.  However, as parents if we can observe the behavior as a manifestation of self-development and assertion we’re far less likely to view it as negative, or behavior in need of fixing and more likely to adopt a flexible approach.  In the long run this will benefit both parent’s and toddler’ mental health – believe me.

Rather than reacting to toddler behavior as disrespectful, see it for what it is – an attempt to assert herself as an individual.  After all, that’s our job as parents – raising, independent individuals that will contribute in their own way to the world.



When your toddler is resolute and determined to do things her way, it is so easy to fall into the trap of issuing edicts, threats and ultimatums.   There are two problems with this



The single most effective way to encourage your toddler to be independent is to love her unconditionally, support her and have a truck load of patience – yes, I know – that leads to self-care – that’s for another day.   Here are some tips:


Keep your own sense of humour and remember these are just growing pains!