Provide two other examples of how they might support the child during this stage. Give at least two strategies for how to help a struggling parent with their toddler and explain why modeling for a child is vital to their development. 5 sentences or more.
Explain and define the specific topics that you selected.
Toddlers are notorious for their drive to become partially independent from their caregivers. Often insisting on feeding themselves, dressing themselves, and doing other tasks without the help of an adult. Self-Help is one of the five areas of a child’s development. It encompasses self-feeding, toileting, independent dressing/hygiene, and helping with daily tasks. In contrast, these same children can experience separation anxiety. This is where a toddler becomes upset when a primary caregiver attempts to leave the room, leaving them feeling abandoned. Most children experience separation anxiety at some point before they are two years old, but should grow out of it by the age of three.
Discuss how you, as an educator can support a toddler in this stage of development by giving specific examples.
Self-Help skills are an essential in a child’s journey to eventual independence. The biggest support we can provide for these children is the space and opportunity to do things on their own (safely of course). Often people assume that just because a child is young, they are incapable of doing even the simplest task. Encouragement is a great tool to use when working with toddlers. For example, allowing a them to throw their own trash away or pull up their pants after trying to use the restroom and then applauding their success or effort. You can approach separation anxiety with the same enthusiasm. When a child is experiencing this emotion, we want to ease their distress by comforting them and ensuring them that they are in a safe, fun place. For instance, when a toddler notices that their caregiver is heading out the door, be sure to first acknowledge that they are leaving with a “goodbye .” Followed by a quick distraction to a fun activity.
Explain what is happening during this stage from a developmental perspective. (e.g. what are the cognitive, physical changes they are experiencing and why are they experiencing these changes)
In the self-help, developmental area, toddlers are discovering that they are a separate being from others; leading them to seek out independence. By practicing self-help skills, such as dressing and feeding themselves, they are developing their large and small motor skills (physical), building self-esteem and confidence (socioemotional), and problem-solving skills (cognitive). This is normal and healthy part of development for children one to three years of age. Similarly, separation anxiety is also normal and even healthy part of emotional/behavioral development in children. Again, being aware of their own existence separate from their caregivers, these little ones are not capable of understanding the concept (cognitive) of time and that you will return for them (socioemotional).
What advice would you give to parents and families who are having a difficult time adjusting to their toddler?
Toddler parents need to remember that these are little people, who are just one to three years old. They are experiencing big emotions, without knowing how to properly express them. Be patient, loving and understanding when approaching an upset toddler. Focus on the strides your child has made in the last year and encourage them. Model good behaviors for your child to imitate. Research as much as you can about this stage of development to gain knowledge about what are considered age-appropriate behaviors. And lastly, take a break if you need one.