Navigating the toddler years

When it comes to raising children, the toddler years have rightly or wrongly long had a reputation as tough to navigate.

It’s a period where children are gaining independence, interacting with their surrounds, and beginning to express an opinion about the things going on around them.

They are also an incredible time of learning in any child’s life, where children move through a series of monumental intellectual, physical, and social milestones in a short space of time.

So, let’s take a wander through the toddler years, looking at the development that occurs, the challenges that ensue and how collectively, we can effortlessly navigate children through them.

A time of major milestones

Although all children develop at their own pace, the toddler years typically see children navigate a series of major milestones in very quick succession.

Defined as the ages of one to three-years-old, it is during this phase that many learn to walk, hone their gross and fine motor skills, and improve their co-ordination.

In fact, these years are punctuated by movement and exploration. It’s a period where there’s an absolute joy to life when little people might dance like no-one’s watching, master the art of holding small items, learn to kick a ball, and truly interact with their surrounds.

At the same time, the core skills of language are generally developing with children better comprehending what is being said to them and mastering their own vocabulary.

At this stage they also begin to become aware of their relationships with others. They might become increasingly enthusiastic about the company of other children, begin to imitate those around them, and embrace the magic of make believe.

A bad rep for some beautiful years

With all this social, intellectual, and physical development going on, it is often at this point that children begin to express their feelings, which historically has given rise to the tough reputation that the toddler years have.

For some, it might be a time where children express intense frustration in the former of tantrums, or when they suffer separation anxiety.

It’s also a stage where children might actively be testing boundaries as they seek to define who they are.

But behind the scenes, each of these aspects represents the learning occurring that ultimately help shapes the person they become.

An incredible period of learning

With so much going on, the toddler years are an incredible period of learning, and a time when the right stimulation, environment and educational framework sets them up for life.

It’s a time when they begin to understand colour, and can sort objects by colour and shape, explore by touching items, express their creativity in art, embrace a love of music, and interact with other children to explore the wonders of socialising.

At Nature’s Kids Childcare Centre, we see the toddler years as an incredible opportunity to embrace a lifelong love of learning through play, activity, exploration, and socialising.

It’s a time that children learn best by connecting with an exciting environment around them and discover by doing – whether that’s painting, getting dirty, paddling in puddles, patting animals, or playing make-believe.