3 year old and independence

Hey, I’ve posted about my elder daughter before but I’m getting a bit exasperated with my 3 year old. She is following me around everywhere. I can’t even go to the toilet in peace. There is zero independent play and it’s driving me a bit mad. I know she’s still so young but some of my friends kids are playing independently, even for short periods and I really want mine to do the same. Does anyone have any ideas how to encourage independent play? And any tips to stop her constantly following me into the bathroom would also be fab :joy:


Oh my goodness @TiredMum - yes I hear you! Not even being able to pee in peace. It’s just so exhausting!!

Just an idea. Have you tried rewards? If there’s a game she likes or a thing she likes doing that’s possible to do by herself, can you ask her to play nicely for 5 minutes by herself while you go and do something you need to to and then if she can do that you’ll give her a sticker, or play her favourite game with her or something. And then if that works gradually increase the time to longer than 5 minutes?

That said I’m sure it’ll be fine and she will get there eventually. 3 is still pretty young. I hope you’re ok and are getting a break at some point.

Let us know if anything you try works. Good luck xx


Yep been there @TiredMum! Sending you love and an abundance of patience :yellow_heart:


Hi @TiredMum wonder if there an issue that is worrying or upsetting her? She may not know what is bothering her, may be something is making her feel uncertain and somewhat anxious. And naturally, she sees you as her safe space.
It might be helpful to chat with her about school, friends, conflict or upsets at home - worries about anything - something she may have heard at home or on the TV. Or perhaps there is jealousy or friction with your older child. Look out for areas that may help reassure your daughter. And children have different temperaments, so your little one may be more sensitive and need extra reassurance.
However, that said it must be a bit exhausting for you too!
Children go through phases, as they come across new experiences, trying to make sense of the world!
Maybe she is going through a time of big developmental leaps for her, in preparation becoming more independent in various ways.
Firstly reassure her that you love her and will always be there for her.
Share a time when you felt shy or uncertain – that its normal, every one feels anxious at times!
In the course there is section on PRAISE that helps you gently improve certain behaviours - particularly at times that she is being more adventurous and compliment her ‘I noticed that even though you were feeling shy, you chatted with your sister’s friends’ Or ‘ It was nice to see you playing with your toys in your room’ Celebrate those longer times that she spends independently and try giving her less attention when being clingy.
I hope some of this resonates – its an ongoing process. Do let us know how you get on : )


Thank you @Dr_Clare_Bailey - that is such a helpful response. I’m going to talk to her nursery just to check there’s nothing obvious that would be worrying her there.

I’m guilty of not finishing the full praise section in the course so that’s my job for this week also, as I need to get much better with that.

Thanks again, you’ve really helped lower my stress levels!!