Toddlerhood: a time of change and challenge

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Ian Munro offers some advice on how you and your child can cope with toddlerhood.

Ian Munro
Ian Munro
You certainly know when a baby becomes a toddler. It’s a time of significant change for them and a lot of challenge for child and parent. It’s probably as dramatic as adolescence, but more manageable.

Toddlerhood tends to start once a baby has the ability to get around and explore their surroundings and lasts for more or less a couple of years. It’s an exciting period with lots of milestones.

Youngsters are beginning to understand that they’re separate from their parents; a "me" and "you" realisation. With that comes the need to assert themselves which, in turn, encourages language skills.

Brain development is dramatic and a toddler’s list of things to get done includes:

• learning to get around and then to go further and do more - running, jumping, skipping, climbing, catching and throwing.

• getting control of bodily functions - putting the food and drink in and controlling its exit.

• mastering language - talking, identifying and reading first words.

• becoming comfortable with independency - accepting babysitters and being left with others.

• learning to interact with other youngsters - playing together, sharing and taking turns.

• helping Mum and Dad with tasks and getting satisfaction from being a "big person".

They also have to learn to cope with the frustration of not being allowed/able to do what they want - those tantrums. They still have little logic and little self-control. "No" becomes a much-used word.

It’s hard for them to process disappointment, to accept a substitute for something and to understand how long a timeframe is. A kitchen timer can help them cope for the 10 minutes we said we needed to finish something.

To get the best possible outcomes from a toddler, it’s important to:

• recognise their challenges and the frustrations.

• recognise that it will often be two steps forward and one step back.

• provide lots of different opportunities and experiences - lots of being read to, conversation and music and many and varied physical activities.

• provide quiet times and to recognise when enough is enough for an activity or for the day before that moment arrives - their brains need to pause and consolidate.

• provide comforting times - we’re still our child’s best friend and playmate.

• keep the environment safe as they explore but not to remove all challenges and make it too cushioned.

• grow decision-making skills - an apple or a banana?

Then repeat for adolescence.


 

Add a Comment

 

Advertisement

postanote_header_620_x_80.png

postanote_620_x_25.jpg

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter