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7 Things You Do Every Day That'll Make Your Baby Independent Later In Life

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One of the most bittersweet things about parenting is watching your baby grow up. I for one would love to be able to stop time right now, but like it or not my daughter is getting bigger and more independent all the time. It's amazing to watch, and sometimes I can't help but wonder what I did to gift her this this great little personality. Well, it turns out that there are tons of things you do every day that'll make your baby independent later in life. As a mom who's definitely prone to second guessing herself, it's great to know that some of the most important things we can do for our kids are things that are so simple.

Simple, however, does not necessarily mean easy. Emotionally, it can be hard to watch your baby become more independent (and it's especially heartbreaking when they get big enough to evade your snuggles). But ultimately, it's a good thing for both of you. As my baby becomes less dependent on me the bigger she gets, I've noticed that I'm slowly getting little increments of time back.

Here are seven things you're probably already doing that can have lifelong benefits for your baby.

1. You Let Them Play Alone

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Letting your baby play alone is one of the first steps to independence, according to Baby Center. At around a year old, babies can stay by themselves alone in a room (provided that it's baby-proofed) for brief periods of time. That lets them learn how to entertain themselves, with the awesome bonus of giving mom or dad a little break.

2. You Play Peek-A-Boo

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Playing games like peek-a-boo with your baby is not only adorable, it's also key to teaching them independence, according to Ask Dr. Sears. It helps your baby realize that though you might be out of sight, they're still OK without you.

3. You Let Them Figure Stuff Out On Their Own

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You can foster independence in your baby by letting them figure things out on their own, according to Parents. I practice this in small ways with my little one by not automatically handing her something she's striving to reach, so she has to keep working for it. It sounds kind of mean written down, but it's teaching her to keep trying when she wants something.

4. You Pick Them Up

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Something as simple as picking up your baby when they cry helps them become more independent as they get older, according to Psychology Today. The next time someone tries to tell you you'll spoil your little one by picking them up too much, let them know that it's exactly the opposite.

5. You Don't Force Feed

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Your little one might start showing their independent streak when they're in the high chair. If your baby is refusing to eat a new food, you shouldn't force the issue according to Parenting. It's one of the first ways babies can express their wishes. I'll try to remember this the next time by baby throws all of her vegetables on the floor.

6. You Let Them Explore

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Letting your baby explore can be nerve-wracking, but it's an important part of becoming independent according to Baby Center. Instead of hovering over them and keeping them out of trouble, let them check stuff out around the house (provided everything dangerous is out of the way). There may be some bumps and bruises along the way, but your baby will learn a lot.

7. You Stay Positive

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A baby will look to a parent's reaction to teach them how to respond to situations, according to Parenting. If you're confident about something, they're more likely to be confident, too— and that leads to independence.