Your 1-Year-Old

Social Emotional

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.

Child Care Staff Gifts: What They Really Want!

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.

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

When the children are frustrated, is the teacher? Look for an environment where teachers encourage children to express their independence, their emotions, and their needs while the teacher stays supportive and calm. “Oh, I see you are very sad! I am here. You are safe. It is okay to cry, but if you want a hug, I can help.”

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!

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

“It will be time to clean up in 5 minutes friends.” When clean up happens or any change in routines watch for calm response from kids and teachers alike. Teachers should set up routines so children know what to expect by offering warnings, using a predictable pattern, and even posting a daily schedule made of pictures.

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.

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Toddlers will argue over toys, space and nearly anything else — it happens. What really matters is how the teacher uses these moments for learning. Listen for teachers to ask questions and to help children contribute to solutions for their conflicts. “It looks like you both want to play the bells. Let’s find more instruments. That way, we can all have fun together.”

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.

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Do the teachers and children enjoy being in each other’s company? Do they engage actively throughout the day? Do children seek teacher assistance when they need support, and do teachers model respect and empathy in their responses?

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.