After your child’s first birthday, he is a toddler and becomes less dependent on your constant care. He is going to run better and is going to research himself. The urge to discover will increasingly win his need to be with mom and dad and to stay in the neighborhood. From about one and a half years your child will become a toddler. Your child experiences that he or she is a person and develops a will of his own. For you, as a parent, there is a new, exciting period!
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Center of the world
A toddler is very proud of himself and thinks that the world revolves around him. It is part of the regular development that a toddler expects that all attention is focused on him. He demands all attention, from everyone, and everywhere. A toddler cannot handle it when you are busy with other things. He attracts attention in all sorts of ways and does not understand that parents also have other things to do that are always working with him. Your toddler can become very angry if you give him no attention.
In the second year of life, your child learns that he is causing something himself. This is a step in the direction of belief in one’s ability. Your toddler can do small assignments and enjoy compliments. This is also important for later in school. At this age he uses things as intended; hairbrush for your hair, a ball to roll and kick against and with a car you do driving games. A toddler cannot yet think so well and feels in a ‘toddler way’. Memories, fantasy, and reality are intertwined; there is magical thinking. In this phase, your toddler believes that what he thinks happens. Sometimes that can frighten your toddler, and it is difficult for parents to trace the cause of the fear. In any case, take the fear seriously! Try talking about it.
Learning to walk and talk are two major and important developments. Then your child learns to kick a ball, jump, run and throw a ball. All children have their own pace in which they develop. From the first birthday, a child’s head becomes smaller about the body, and something of a neck begins to emerge. The arms and legs now grow much faster than the trunk. Baby fat disappears. From a year and a half, you can see that the development of the fine movements takes a spurt. Now that he has mastered walking, he is going to focus more on details. He will learn to drink from a cup and to take it with two hands. Your child learns this by turning pages in a book, and that is becoming easier.
When parents respond with satisfaction and enthusiasm to the first words of their child, this encourages the child to say or repeat more things. After the age of eighteen months, some toddlers can already say small sentences. Toddlers are also going to understand more and more what is being said to them. You notice this as a parent by answering questions or receiving a follow-up response. Parents can set a good example; children take over the language of their parents. Toddlers learn through imitation. The toddler does not yet understand everything he says; it is about repeating itself. In general, the bonding process of a child takes place in phases:
+ First three months: signals that send a baby are not yet aimed at one person, your baby feels at one with his environment and does not yet make a distinction between people.
+ Three – six months: there is a beginning of recognition; the baby learns to distinguish between voices and faces. The sweetest laughs are for his regular caretakers.
+ From about six months: a period of proximity and separation anxiety. Of great importance during this period is that your baby learns that you will return when you have been away for a while (for example through peek-a-boo games).
+ About one and a half years to three years: release to independence. Your child has formed an inner image of his parents and has learned that the parent also remains outside the field of vision. Your child will discover that he is also someone, separate from his parents. He is going to experience that he is someone other than his father or mother. He becomes independent and enjoys the freedom that comes with letting go.
+ About three to six years: the final phase of the attachment process. Your child learns that he can actively intervene, that he can be creative and can turn the world into his own hands. He can stand up for himself.
Some children are potty trained when they are two years old, while other children wear a diaper at the age of 4. Usually, children are potty trained when they go to elementary school. Wait until your child is ready for it. For example, if the diaper is dry for a long time, this may be a sign that you can start with potty training. Here too, as a parent, you can give your child an example: take him to the toilet and put him in the pot next to you. Do not use force, because that is counter-productive. Have patience and reward your toddler extensively, by giving lots of compliments if things are going well. A child who is dry during the day can still need a diaper at night. It is not abnormal until the age of 7 years. Usually a child also automatically dries at night.
As a parent, you cannot force your child to go to bed, decide when he goes to bed and that he has to stay there: waking up is okay, it does not come out! It helps to work with a bed ritual. Maintain a fixed ritual and do not introduce any new impulses. Give a cuddly toy, to provide peace and regularity throughout the day, to consistently and predictably handle your rules and limits. This way your child knows what he can expect from you and what you do not do.
Toddlers and toddlers love to play together with mom and dad. You do not have to be busy with your child all day long, but you can reserve steady moments to play along. Other times you learn to be occupied with your child yourself. By regularly doing something together, a balance is created between the two. Imitation games and helping are favorite activities at this age. He likes to help and does everything that mom or dad do. Playing together with other children of the same age is still tricky. Your child is still very focused on himself and finds it difficult to see another child play with his toys. At this age, they are not yet able to take each other into account or postpone a sudden emerging need.