My favorite words to say to my children are, “Figure it out yourself.” I’ve been saying it to them since they were six-months old. I love hearing them repeat it to themselves as they work on that 1-inch lock-and-key, buttoning small buttons or opening a complicated latch on a box. They would spend lots of time with those things, concentrating very hard, trying to figure it out. If they come back to me and use words like, “Help me” (which I also taught them at a very early age), then I’ll help.
“Every useless help is a hindrance.”
— Maria Montessori
Here’s a video of Mackenzie at 22 months: