Your toddler introduces himself by name now, and he likes to show you what he can do. Play with his peers? Check. Follow simple routines? Check. Express his feelings? Check. His confidence and sense of self is growing every day, and he’s learning how to manage his emotions, his conflicts, and his relationships.
He’s comfortable playing by himself or with others…although he still relies on you and other familiar adults for social support with new situations and challenges. Day by day, he’s developing a growing sense of independence and empathy — and knowing his own feelings sets the stage for caring about others’ emotions too.
I Can Tell You My Name and How I Feel.
It’s a pretty proud parenting moment when your toddler first says her own name. And it’s even more exciting to see her light up when you walk into the room! She expresses all her emotions more readily now – from joy to anger to distress… and everything in between. She wants you to understand how she feels, and she’s developing the communication skills to make that happen. And listen closely because you might even hear her using your favorite expressions of comfort on a beloved friend, stuffed animal, or baby doll.
I Can Soothe Myself.
He’s upset… but he remembers what you’ve done to help him navigate that emotion. And he’s growing up enough to understand how to repeat those actions in order to help himself. Your toddler might want to throw his ball in anger – and occasionally he still might – but he’s also learning different ways to deal with his frustration. When you guide him through those different responses, he listens… and understands. What you’re teaching him about self-control is critical, necessary, and cathartic. Soon, he’ll be able to emotionally navigate his way through most every situation!
I’m Becoming a Problem Solver.
When she demands her playmate give a toy back, you should intervene, right? Maybe not! Your toddler is learning how to navigate conflicts and solve her own problems. Give her some space to figure out – via trial and error – some different ways to healthily engage in conflict resolution.
I Know Who My Friends Are.
He likes to play alone, but he also enjoys playing with peers. Your toddler is learning what friendship is all about – and he’s trusting you to help guide the way! You’ll notice he’s willing to exhibit security with you and his other favorite adults, and that he still relies on you to help him with his relationship challenges. But even as he leans on you for support, he may refuse your help or offer up an emphatic “No!” It’s just as important to let him figure things out for himself (as long as he’s safe and healthy) as it is to assist when wanted and needed.
All children learn and grow at their own pace and in their own way. For more information about the skills and milestones for your child's age check out our developmental milestones resource page. If you continue to have concerns or questions please give us a call at 1-800-299-1627.