Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Happy Toddler

Your child will grow into toddler hood carrying with him the curiosity and the cuddly qualities he developed as a baby. But the distinguishing feature of these years is his vacillation between the old dependency of baby hood and a new drive for independence. Children now become more consciously attached than ever to their parents, but at the same time a paradoxical event occurs; They learn to crawl and then to walk, gaining the locomotion to move away from the objects of their affection. This is usually the source of some short term anxiety, but it is also crucial to the child’s long term happiness.

Watch as your child crawls or toddles boldly away from you and into the dining room, where he peeks under the table, grabs a bit of dust and wiggles the leg of a chair. Suddenly, something reminds him of you and, looking up in surprise; he either cries or scoots back to your side.

Eventually he will gain more confidence and his desire for security. With the toddler’s new found mobility, curiosity, flowers into rampant a adventurousness. The happy child at this stage is into everything, asserting himself in exploring and testing, discovering a new things every day. One thing he discovers quickly is that there are limits on his ramblings, which invariably produces some friction. His moods are mercurial, shifting from laughter to tantrum and back to smiles within hour.

And most toddlers go through the period of ardent protest known as the ‘terrible twos’. Considered from the long view, however, his barrage of ‘no’ is really more assertive than negative. He is simply claiming his freedom to choose, while you stand by with your regulations. Gradually he comes to accept your authority, even to welcome it. Soon he will learn to set his own limits – another mark of the truly happy child.