( 18 Months - 2 Years )
I have known more than 350 children this age. What I know about these children, who are beginning the important task of separating from parents so they can become independent, is this:
I like being with two-year-olds. I know that parents sometimes tire of children's whining. Some parents don't understand that children are not powerless but, in fact, are doing what they need to do at this age to prepare themselves to grow up successfully and become loving, caring, responsible people. Parents need to provide the structure-that is, the environment, the safety, the security, the rules and rituals, and the love-that will give these children the freedom to grow.
- They don't cooperate.
- They are often angry, and they try out many ways of showing it. Some of them have lots of tantrums, and some just fuss.
- They are practicing saying no, but they shouldn't be held to it at this stage.
- They test limits.
- Sometimes they are independent, and sometimes they are not.
- Some talk a lot, and some don't.
- They understand more words than they say.
- Some handle small objects skillfully, and some don't.
- Some are toilet trained, but many are not.
- Their appetites vary; some eat a lot, and some eat like birds.
- They like to imitate, and they do it well. This is one important way they learn.
- Some like to stay close to Mom, and some like to play games of chase with her.
- They are busy learning about general categories and will separate things within the categories later.
- They are starting to understand "after lunch" but don't understand "in fifteen minutes."
- Routines and rituals are important to help these children understand time and sequence and learn about expected and responsible behavior.
- They develop their memories by insisting that you repeat the same stories and songs over and over.
- They understand one-step commands or requests (like "get your coat") but lose it if you ask them to do two or three things at a time.
- They try out whining and screaming and continue these behaviors for a long time if adults respond to them.
- They learn to walk and fall down and climb and turn in dizzy circles and walk backwards.
- They climb up and down stairs early and easily, if their legs are long enough and they have stairs to practice on and a patient adult to guide them.
- They need adults to provide safe places for them to "grow" their climbing muscles because they will climb anywhere.
- They like to fit little things into little holes, so watch that they don't put beans in little noses or magic markers in little ears.
- They can help clean up the many spills that result from their poor aim and their fascination with liquids.
- They are wonderful, exciting, interesting people.
Source: HELP! For Parents of Children from Birth to Five: Tried and True Solutions to Parents' Everyday Problems, author Jean Illsley Clarke, First Rev ised Edition, 1993
Copyright 2000 by Jean Illsley Clarke, Self-Esteem: A Family Affair, All Rights Reserved.
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