Independence is the ability to do things for ourselves. Once kids are school age, having a healthy sense of independence contributes to positive behavior, better decision-making, and persistence when faced with challenges. The foundation for later independence is built in early infancy, and is strengthened by sensitive, responsive parenting throughout the early years.

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During infancy, children need endless love and affection, and they thrive when they understand that our presence and support is a constant. But somewhere around age two, things begin to change, and what children need is greater independence.

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Motivation Matters

There is no question that children in the first years of their lives learn from everything they do. Just as important, they’re developing attitudes toward learning that will last a lifetime. Motivation is a key part of this process.

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Children are born ready to learn, curious about the world around them. This curiosity drives them to learn naturally, through experience and experimentation. Unfortunately, external rewards for learning, like grades and test scores are not only less effective motivators than natural curiosity, but actually undermine it.

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Research shows that curiosity and self-motivated learning are critical for school readiness, helping children to remain engaged in the classroom and to develop the confidence that they are effective and capable students.

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Babies are born learners and it is curiosity which drives them to figure out the world around them and how it works. Research shows that children have an internal drive to learn. It is this natural desire, rather than external rewards, which motivates them to seek out new experiences and leads them toward becoming lifelong learners.

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