This is the statement my husband and I hear most from our 2 ½ year old son. While the age of independence is expected, my husband and I had no idea how frequently we’d hear this statement. Nor could we have imagined the scenarios in which our son would choose to exert his independence; or the determination he would have for completing the task. From pushing the cart down the grocery aisle, to cutting up his food when we’re at a restaurant or getting himself dressed in the mornings.
Both his father and I are of the mindset that we should let him experience these things, that by completing these tasks his confidence will increase, his fine/gross motor skills will improve and that we’re fostering independence. What we find amazing is his persistence. When he began asking to do things on his own we both anticipated that he would put two or three minutes of effort in and then be ready for help. This is not usually the case. He will insist on pushing the cart for the duration of our shopping (unless otherwise distracted), will get agitated if we try to cut his food for him (to avoid the mess on restaurant tables/floors), and we have found him in a swimming top and shorts in early February (refusing to change his clothing until the front door was opened)! Watching this development is awe inspiring, comical and occasionally trying.
During those trying moments I often think about his future, and I realize that I want him to be as tenacious for all of life’s challenges as he is for pushing a shopping cart around a grocery store! So when and where I can, I let him do things on his own, even if it means things get done at a slower pace!