MomTalk.com January 26, 2021:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more

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You Can Do It!


By Jacqueline Mroz

When Julia Gaspar-Bates' 17-month-old daughter feeds herself, it's not a pretty sight. Food is everywhere -- in the toddler's hair, on her high chair and on the floor. But it's a definite improvement. In the few months since little Talia started spooning out her own yogurt and cereal, she's gotten much better. Sometimes, she even gets most of the food into her mouth, says Gaspar-Bates of Hyattsville, Md. Best of all is the sense of accomplishment that Talia seems to feel when she does feed herself.

"When she first started doing it, the food was all over the place -- it was hard to resist helping her. But now, she's gotten better at it. I'll say, 'Good job, Talia! Look how well you're eating,'" says Gaspar-Bates. "She always seems very pleased with herself afterward."

Resist the Temptation

It's not easy to hold back from helping your child when it seems like she's struggling with something new or making mistakes. But experts say that kids gain confidence by trying to do things for themselves, even if it means failing at first. "We're all guilty of it. We have so many things to do, that it's sometimes just easier to do it ourselves," says David Dia, a child therapist and an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee's College of Social Work in Memphis. "But when a child struggles with something new and the parent comes to help, that can send a message that we think they can't do it."
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