When your little one was first born, it was your job to make him or her feel safe and secure in the world around them. That meant responding to their cries and fulfilling their needs.
Now that your baby is almost one, it is still absolutely important to continue fulfilling those needs. But instilling self-confidence becomes about more than just making sure they are fed and rested.
At this stage, you will find that your little one needs more opportunities to explore (and sometimes fall) on his or her own. Building self-confidence is partially about gaining a bit of independence, and while there is only so much independence you can give to a 1 year old, you can step back a bit and allow them to explore without mom or dad hovering just overhead.
Think about it. If your baby hasn’t started walking yet, he or she is probably getting very close. They are maneuvering around furniture, holding your hands to walk from room to room, and experimenting with balance. With each new milestone that is accomplished, they feel a bit more confident in their own abilities. And sometimes, even learning to fall can be a boost that encourages them to keep going.
So step back, but remain close enough by to intercept if they start moving towards the stairs!
Another great way to start building confidence at this age is to begin allowing your child to make some choices. Maybe you want to present two options for pajamas before bed, or you want to offer two different books to read. Let your child be the one to pick when it comes to these smaller decisions that don’t have any kind of long-term impact on their health or your day. Keep the choices limited, though; two options is more than enough for kids of this age.
Of course, let’s not forget that the greatest ingredient to your child’s self-confidence is still you at this point. Be positive and encouraging when talking to your child, and be sure to celebrate their successes with an upbeat and infectious response. Pay attention to the words you use as well. While it may not seem that your child understands nuances just yet, you would be surprised what they can pick up on. So instead of lamenting upon the ways in which your child may seem to be behind (“Suzy hasn’t started talking yet, and Billy down the street is already using three-word sentences,”) focus on what your kiddo has accomplished and how proud you are.
Written by Leah Campbell, infertility advocate, adoptive mama, writer and editor. Find me @sifinalaska on Twitter.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general informational basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.