Eager to please and impress you, you may have already noticed your toddler trying to be ‘helpful.’ While his helpfulness may lead to bigger messes. and simple tasks turning into difficult and frustrating ones, it’s important for your toddler’s development that you stand aside and let him try.
Having the responsibility to complete simple tasks helps children develop a sense of independence and accomplishment. Not to mention, the huge self-esteem boost when he hears your cheering for his accomplishment.
Your toddler’s desire to help will not last forever, so use this time to incorporate helpful habits that will last a lifetime. Show him the importance of a clean room, tidy toys, and other activities that you normally do that he can accomplish on his own. If you notice him struggling to complete the task, offer a helping hand, but don’t take over altogether. The goal is to get your toddler used to helping around the house, or at the very least, cleaning up after himself (finally!)
Mastering picking up a small item with a precise finger and thumb grasp is a huge step towards independence, including the ability to self-feed, self-dress, and eventually write his name and brush his teeth..
A good time to let your baby practice this is when he’s in his highchair. Small cereal pieces, such as Cheerios, are the perfect size to help your baby master this precise grasp. It will take quite a bit of practice on his part, but once mastered, he will be able to maneuver his toys like never before!
Make sure to remove all choking hazards, since food will not be the only thing your baby will use that handy pincer grasp to get into his mouth.
Your baby’s visual abilities are very limited her first couple of months. In addition to only being able to see 8-12 inches in front of her face, she has very little control over using her eyes in tandem; that’s why you will see them wander or cross.
While she’s working hard to get both eyes to work as a team and focus, help her explore her world. Introduce objects to her by holding them within 8-12 inches of her face. Hold the object very still so baby can focus on the details, and don’t forget to name the objects so she knows what she is looking at!
As she gets the hang of focusing on movement, you will notice her eyes following the objects as you pass them in front of her. You can also try locking eyes with her while moving your head slowly from left to right, and watch as she’s mesmerized by your eyes and head movement.