Around the age of 18 months, you may notice a change in your young child. She may become more willful, wanting to do everything for herself, and may use the word “no” more often!
This is an entirely natural period when children begin to understand their place in the world, seek self-affirmation that they matter, and have a desire to be independent!
To explain more, we asked Montessori Toddler teacher Jamie Bauer to help us understand this important period in a child’s development. Here she is:
“Children under 3 are guided by their Horme (basically, their drive to develop) and as they’re approaching the rational mind, they get more glimpses of right and wrong choices.
These children under 3 all go through something called a developmental ‘crisis’ or turning point when they realize their words, choices, and body is theirs. They have the power to say ‘no’. This can be really hard for parents.
It’s beyond difficult to live with a toddler whose drive is pushing them into curiosities that seem defiant. For example, a toddler might be exploring actions like, ‘What happens if I bite my mom?’ or ‘What happens if I color on the wall?’
Through all of this, we have to look at children as learners first. Their drive is to explore the world and to develop the rational mind – not simply to be naughty or defiant.”
When faced with a young child who is seeking self-affirmation, take a moment to consider what it is they are trying to learn. Support them inasmuch as you are able, but remember it’s also necessary to set clear boundaries.
If your child is trying to determine if it’s ok to color on the walls, make sure a clear Yes or No is communicated. It will help your child understand their environment as they continue to explore the world around them.
Angela Tewalt shared her struggles of going through this crisis phase with her son. Read here, and share your experiences with other parents in Guidepost Parent chat.
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