When your little one decides to, quite literally, scoot away from the baby stage and enter the wonderful world of being a toddler, it’s only natural that they’re going to want to begin exploring everything around them!
Between the ages of around 1 to 3, your mini-me is going to be developing their ability to communicate, assert their independence as well as, you guessed it, begin walking (or sometimes even running) around!
As a parent, it’s only to be expected that you’re going to want to do everything that you can do in order to make sure that your child stays as safe as possible – regardless of whether they’re exploring a new room in the house by themselves or enjoying a sunny day at the park.
However, despite the fact that supervision and your child’s safety are of the utmost importance – it’s also important to let your child be given the freedom and space to explore, and that’s where we come in to lend you a helping hand.
If your child is currently beginning to explore their surroundings and you need a little bit of advice on how to parent during this time, then you’ve come to the right place.
Below, not only will you find helpful information on why exploring is important, but we’ll also be sharing with you some positive parenting tips to make the process as smooth as possible. Read on!
Why Is Exploring Important?
As we’re sure you’re already familiar with, exploring is very important for a child to do because it allows them to effectively develop their social and physical development skills in a freeing and encouraging environment.
When a toddler is given the opportunity to explore their surroundings without being assisted, it means that they are then able to explore the world around them and form their very own, unique perception.
For example, for the most part, your child will have likely spent much of their childhood observing things from a distance, rather than getting up close and personal.
However, that all changes as soon as toddlerhood arrives, as growing babies soon begin to walk and naturally begin to crave the autonomy to follow their curiosity and touch, feel, and smell the different objects, surfaces, and materials around them.
Besides experiencing a greater level of independence for the first time, exploring will also give your toddler the chance to be able to work on developing their motor skills, as well as their confidence in general.
So, regardless of whether your little one is playing in your backyard or spending some time feeling different textures and objects in the home, freedom to explore will help your little one to feel more capable – while also ensuring that they’re able to enjoy some time exploring and adventuring on their own!
Plus, in addition to all of the above, exploring will also serve as a way for your toddler to get their recommended daily amount of exercise.
At the ages of 12 to 36 months old, your child is going to need to begin engaging in low to moderate physical activity in order to ensure their overall physical development.
So, with that being said, to give you an idea of how much time you should let your child explore, you might find it helpful to follow the recommended 60 minutes of free play time and recommended 30 minutes of structured physical activity.
Positive Parenting Tips
Even though allowing your toddler to explore can be a little bit scary, positive parenting is a great way to help overcome this anxiety and allow your child to flourish and grow.
Below, check out our top tips for positive parenting while your child is beginning to explore the world around them and go on adventures:
Only Correct When Needed
If possible, we strongly recommend that you avoid disciplining your child while they are exploring unless it is absolutely necessary for you to do so.
If your child is doing something that could be dangerous to themselves or others or is doing something naughty/destructive – then you should absolutely take the time to pause exploration time and communicate with your toddler why they have done something wrong.
It’s also important to remember that toddlers quite often push boundaries because they haven’t yet entirely learned right from wrong, so try to stay patient and calm if you find that your toddler doesn’t quite stop the negative behavior right away.
Supervise Your Child From A Safe Distance
While this point ties in closely with the one above, we still think that it is an important point to highlight. While your child is busy exploring and enjoying a little bit of freedom, it can be easy to feel anxious or worried that your child might get hurt or do something wrong.
However, it is very important to give your toddler time to be alone to help support their overall development, which is why we strongly recommend that you take a more relaxed approach and supervise your child from a distance.
So, as soon as dedicated exploration time begins, try your best to actively take a step back and try not to step in unless your child is in danger of doing something wrong.
As a side note, if you take the time to make the environment that your toddler is going to be exploring as safe and comfortable as possible, you’ll feel far less anxious about giving your child the reins to do as they please for an hour or so.
Even though it’s important to give your child the space to be able to make their own decisions during exploration time, you should also make sure to add plenty of variety so that they will have a variety of different activities to choose from during this time.
Make sure that there’s plenty of space and children-friendly furniture around so that your child doesn’t get hurt.
You should also make sure that there are a variety of tactile toys (that come with plenty of texture), mirrors, fabrics, and safe, appropriate household objects for your little one to spend some time inspecting and getting to know.
Give Your Child Freedom To Decide
While this last positive parenting tip might seem a little obvious, believe it or not, it just so happens to be one of the biggest aspects parents end up overlooking.
As we’re sure you’re already well aware, toddlers love to get distracted! As they grow into young children from being a baby, it seems as though all they want to do is examine and inspect a variety of different everyday objects, animals, buildings, and much more.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that exploration time doesn’t necessarily need to have a “purpose”, instead, it can simply be a time of exploration for your child to do whatever they feel like – regardless of whether that might be watching a colorful cartoon or exploring in the garden.
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