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Child Development 101:
The Toddler
Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs

Continuing Education (CE) credits can be earned for this presentation at

~    Examine how the child is starting to develop self esteem through initiative and independence
~    Explore what can go wrong in each stage and what can be done to repair damages now.
~    In addition to biological and safety needs…
~    The toddler is now developing
~    Self-Esteem
~    I am lovable for who I am
~    I am loveable even when I make a mistake
~    Self-Efficacy
~    I am capable of trying new things
~    If I make a mistake, my caregiver is there to help me
Psychosocial Development
Will: Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt (Toddlers, 2 to 3 years) “Can I do things myself or am I reliant on others?”
~    Interferences
~    Overly permissive or overly strict parents
~    Lack of praise for exploration and experimentation
~    Manifestations
~    Low self-esteem/need for external validation
~    Lack of motivation
~    Establishment/Re-Establishment
~    Encourage child/yourself to explore and experiment
~    Praise child/yourself for trying even if he fails
~    Reassure child/yourself that he/she is loved as it

Psychosocial Development cont…
Purpose: Initiative vs. Guilt (Preschool, 4 to 6 years)
Children begin asserting control and power
~    Interferences
~    Overly strict/enmeshed parents
~    Lack of encouragement to take risks
~    Manifestations
~    Low self-esteem/need for external validation
~    Difficulty making or maintaining friends
~    Unclear what he likes, wants, feels
~    Guilt for having own needs

Psychosocial Development cont…
Purpose: Initiative vs. Guilt (Preschool, 4 to 6 years)
Children begin asserting control and power
~    Establishment
~    Explore and experiment
~    Praise child for trying even if he fails
~    Reassure child that you love him for who he is
~    Encourage children to develop friendships with a variety of people
~    Re-Establishment
~    Explore and experiment
~    Praise yourself even if you don’t succeed
~    Remind yourself why you are lovable for who you are
~    Develop effective goal setting skills

~    2-6 years early childhood (Preoperational)
~    Preschoolers live in a magical world where inanimate objects are alive (animism) and dreams are real.
~    Parenting challenge:
~    Truth vs. Fiction
~    Creativity vs. Reality
~    They have trouble distinguishing between appearances and reality.
~    Parenting challenge
~    Safe vs. Danger
~    Truth vs. Fiction

~    Children of this age typically love to play make-believe.
~    Parenting challenge
~    Finding your make believe
~    Understanding what they are communicating through their play

~    They focus on one aspect of a situation (centration) and struggle to see other vantage points (egocentrism)
~     Parenting challenge
~    Finding their voice vs. Being a bully
~    Helping them learn to make good choices
~    Accepting their part vs. Taking total responsibility
~    Accepting that everything isn’t necessarily their fault or doing
~    Interventions
~    Effective communication skills
~    Explore the notion of responsibility
~    Explore all aspects of a situation including other vantage points

Early Childhood cont…
~    They often have difficulty putting into words how they feel or what is going on inside.
~    Effects
~¬†¬† ¬†High levels of anxiety and ‚Äúacting out‚ÄĚ
~    Difficulty self-soothing
~    Parenting challenge:
~    Pay attention to nonverbal (and verbal) cues and help the child label her feelings
~    Help child learn to identify sensations, urges and feelings associated with emotions
~¬†¬† ¬†Teach children to ‚Äúcheck-in‚ÄĚ with themselves periodically
~    Create a validating environment
~    Help child learn to tolerate emotions

Early Childhood cont…
~¬†¬† ¬†They use everyday objects in “conventional” and unconventional purposes.
~    Parenting challenge
~    Honoring their creativity in the right time/place
~    Getting outside of the box
~    Preschoolers also love to ask questions both to learn facts as well as learn how to interact with others
~    Parenting challenge:
~¬†¬† ¬†Not getting impatient ‚ÄúMommy, why is the‚Ķ.‚ÄĚ
~    Helping children learn how to answer their own questions
~    Helping children learn to self-regulate in mutual conversations
~    Encouraging children to figure out their own answers

Early Childhood cont…
~    They are little scientists Рtrying things out to see what happens.
What will happen if I drop my ball of playdough into the aquarium? Hmmmmm. Let's check it out! In this same way, they test rules and boundaries to make sure they are the same.
~    Parenting challenge:
~    Cleaning the aquarium
~    Being consistent
~    Understanding the child’s motivation
~    Children at this age crave structure.
~    Parenting challenge:
~    Consistency
~    Steadfastness

Early Childhood cont…
~    Children begin to use strategies for remembering, but they often use inappropriate and ineffective strategies.
~    Parenting challenge:
~    Differentiating truth from fiction
~    Identifying intentional lying from ineffective recall
~    Help children start learning to be mindful and aware
~    Toddlers and preschool age children are learning that it is okay to
~    Have their own wants and needs
~    Communicate their own wants and needs
~    Try new things even if they fail
~    They are developing emotional regulation skills
~    Self-Esteem children are learning they are loveable for who they are, thereby reducing the need for external validation and fears of:
~    Rejection
~    Isolation
~    Failure
~    The Unknown
~    Loss of Control
~    Adults who received excessive criticism or were not provided sufficient emotional support can:
~    Enhance their self-esteem
~    Identify what they have been successful at
~    Identify and set reasonable, achievable goals to increase self-efficacy
~    Deal with grief and resentment issues that may surface regarding parents who failed to meet their needs
~    Develop the ability to identify and regulate emotions