Our favorite products that promote independence

Because of DS, Grace often stays in developmental stages longer, and I realized a few years back that this sometimes made me forget to challenge her to be independent in small manageable ways that helped us both. This is a list of a few products that have been invaluable to us in promoting her independence over the years.

I have looked at the Keekaroo Height Right Chair many times over the years but always balked at the price. Finally, Grace’s inability to sit during virtual learning without crawling all over the table left me no choice. I only wish I’d bought it sooner. The increased support from the adjustable seat and footrest is evident in how much better she sits during school, and the chair is incredibly sturdy. Based on Grace’s size, we may never give it up, but if we do, I’m confident we can easily recoup some of our investment through resale.

The Kitchen Helper step stool was the first of many step stools we have bought for our petite girl. Grace started using it soon after learning to walk to access the sink in the bathroom for hand washing and teeth brushing. With wide, non-slip steps, even crawlers can climb it independently. Four and a half years in, ours is just as sturdy as the day we bought it. Now we keep it in our kitchen for the girls to help at the counter (and for me to reach the top cupboards!)

When we introduced the Kitchen Helper step stool, we added a faucet extender on the bathroom faucet to facilitate Grace’s reach of the water without her having to bend over too far in a way that made her unstable.

We also added light switch extenders in bedrooms and bathrooms to discourage her climbing on things when we’re not around.

This electric toothbrush is the complete package: timed (optional) vibration to ensure thorough brushing, small, replaceable heads, and a light to illuminate the who mouth.Grace has always been an oral sensory seeker, and years ago, her OT recommended an electric toothbrush to satisfy some of that as well was to wake up her muscles for speech. She enjoys this brush and chooses to brush longer because of the vibration. This brush is rated up to age 3, but we still use it for both of our girls with great reviews from their dentist.

We started using this folding toilet seat reducer once Grace graduated from a little potty on the floor. Its compact folded shape makes it portable and easy to store. Just be careful to lay it completely flat to avoid pinching at the folds!

This two-step stool became our bathroom stool once Grace was more steady on her feet and started using the toilet. I like that it’s lightweight and has handles, so Grace can move it between the toilet and sink herself. The extra height also positions her knees above her hips, which is ideal to promote elimination. At 10.5″ tall, it is the same height as the kid’s version of the Squatty Potty (which can be extended to 12.5″ tall with an additional piece) with more of a neutral appearance that I think we’ll use longer.

Anyone else have a restless sleeper? This inflatable mattress with side rails was a lifesaver for travel when Grace outgrew the Pack N Play. It’s made of two pieces, so the air mattress can also be used independently. If your child is a roller, also keep in mind that Halo makes sleep sacks through size 5T (up to 46″). They are the only way we are able to keep a blanket on Grace at night.

If you have a frequent and/or early riser, you may want to consider a Mella sleep trainer clock. The facial expression and light color indicate when it’s time to get out of bed. We used rest time to teach our girls how to use it: when they see the green light and the smiley face, they can come out of their rooms. If you happen to be one of those lucky people whose children sleep in, it also includes an alarm clock. There are other versions of sleep trainer clocks, including a much simpler one here.

Do you have any other tools you love for promoting independence? Share in the comments.

Want more gift ideas?

Check out my list of Gifts made for and by People with Down syndrome, Our Favorite Board Games for Preschoolers and Early Elementary, Our Favorite Fine Motor Toys, and Our Favorite Gross Motor Toys.

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6 thoughts on “Our favorite products that promote independence

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  1. LOVE this post today! I’m with you-sometimes we forget to help them become more independent even though it is our biggest and most important goal for any child. We already have the Mella for our oldest (both of our kids are early risers) and have been considering some of your other options-like that chair! Thank you for all of the ideas and keeping it real!!! 😉

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    1. Thanks for the feedback! I’m so glad you found the post useful. I’m all about keeping it real. Which is why I’ll admit that I I still regularly fall into the trap of doing things for our kids because it’s often easier and faster! #workinprogress 😉

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