“He who is served is limited in his independence.”, My work with children agrees with this quote from Dr. Maria Montessori. When children are provided with a safe environment, the time and patience to accomplish a task at their skill level, they feel successful and gain confidence.
When we continuously do things for toddlers, we give them the message that they are incapable of the independence that they crave. When we commit to guiding them towards putting on their own shoes, their own clothing, etc.. we are showing them love and the gift of independence. With each accomplishment their self-confidence builds and grows. This includes not intervening when they are struggling with a task. Often, when we see our children struggling with something, we jump in and do it for them. Take a step back and let your child figure it out and learn to ask for help. When a child faces a challenge they learn to be resourceful and become confident in their capacity to problem solve.
Toddler's naturally want to do things for themselves. They often say: "I can do it by myself!", and they are right, they can. Let's let them. Let's be confident in their abilities. Let's guide them towards independence. Let's take a step back and give them the space to learn and explore what they are capable of. Instead of coming to their rescue let's teach them the skill of asking for help, when they need it. At home, at daycare, at school, we can set up their environment to facilitate their independence. This is true for children of all ages.
Clean up after a meal
Clean their room
Tidy up toys
A child is learning how the world works and enjoys being an active participant in it.