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Title: Toddler Skills for Personal Responsibility Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright: © 2005 by Margaret Paul URL: http://www.innerbonding.com Word Count: 746 Category: Parenting
Toddler Skills for Personal Responsibility By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
There are three skills that are very important for our little ones to learn early in their lives.
1) Children need to be able to fall asleep on their own. Infants and toddlers who are always rocked to sleep, or breastfed or bottle fed to sleep, learn to depend upon others for falling asleep and do not develop their own falling asleep mechanism. This can cause much distress for parents who go through nightly nightmare of trying to get their infant or toddler to sleep. Instead of always picking up and rocking a crying little one, which only reinforces child’s dependency on you putting him or her to sleep, try patting child and then leaving for a few minutes. If you keep coming in, patting your child and reassuring him or her that you are here, eventually your child will stop depending upon you to rock, hold or feed him or her to sleep.
2) Children need to learn very young to play by themselves and amuse themselves. It is not healthy for children to be constantly dependent upon others, or upon TV, to amuse them. I work with many adults who never learned to “play by themselves.” These adults feel lost when they are alone, having no idea what to do with themselves. Instead of turning to creative or learning opportunities, they may participate in addictions such as eating, drinking, drugs, TV, work, spending, and so on. When children learn to play by themselves at a young age, they tend to be more self-sufficient and creative as adult.
3) Children need to learn how to self-nurture. This means that they need to learn how to take some responsibility for their own feelings. Infants often self-soothe with their blanket, thumb, or pacifier. But as they grow older, they need to learn other ways of self-nurturing because they will not be taking their blanket or pacifier to school.