During this stage, children aged 18-36 months go through significant growth phases in physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language development. They show significant progress in their motor skills (Veldman et al., 2019). They can walk, run, climb, kick, and jump easily. Children develop better hand-eye coordination and also show their first attempts to balance and avoid obstacles. Toddlers show their growing independence by opening doors, climbing stairs, and handling various objects.
Their increased autonomy exposes them to a higher risk of injury (Myhre et al., 2012). Therefore, parents and caregivers should ensure that the home is childproof by securing cabinets, covering electrical outlets, using safety gates, and installing window guards. Small objects, poisoning, and choking hazards should be removed from their reach. Although safety measures should always be in place, caregivers should also into account the child’s need for autonomy by providing age-appropriate stimulation and experience. (Hughes et al., 2018).
During this time, toddlers form strong attachments to their primary caregivers and may become distressed when separated from them (Poopal, 2021). They begin to exhibit feelings of frustration, guilt, and remorse (Drummond et al., 2017). They may have trouble sharing toys without protest and demand adult attention. Their fears become more real to them, and they begin to understand the difference between fantasy and reality (Woolley & Ghossainy, 2017).
Sensory development is a fundamental aspect of child growth. It involves the acquisition and refinement of skills related to recognizing and interpreting information received through the five senses. By having a variety of experiences, children develop important skills for their cognitive, physical, and social development. Visual experiences, for example, help children develop the ability to recognize and interpret shapes, colors, and patterns, which provides the foundation for visual perception and cognitive processing skills. Auditory stimuli help children develop language and communication, as well as memory. Healthy sensory development is critical for children’s attention, concentration, and self-regulation skills. When children are exposed to a variety of sensory stimuli, they learn to adapt to different environments and effectively regulate their responses to sensory input.
Fine motor skills refer to the precise control and coordination of small muscles, especially in the hands and fingers, to perform tasks that require dexterity and precision. These skills play a critical role in various aspects of life, such as academic performance, hobbies, and everyday activities. Fine motor skills are essential for tasks such as writing, drawing, buttoning clothes, using utensils, and handling small objects. It also contributes to hand-eye coordination and enables individuals to perform activities that require accuracy and spatial awareness. The development and refinement of fine motor skills not only supports academic achievement, but also promotes creativity, problem-solving skills, and overall physical and cognitive development.
Gross motor skills refer to the ability to control and coordinate large muscle groups to perform physical activities and movements. These skills include the use of arms, legs, and trunk muscles to accomplish tasks such as walking, running, jumping, and climbing. They are vital to overall physical development and play a critical role in a child’s independence and exploration. Gross motor skills enable children to play sports, games, and outdoor activities, and promote strength, coordination, balance, and overall physical fitness. Developing and refining gross motor skills in childhood is important for improving physical abilities and laying the foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle.
Emotion regulation refers to the ability to effectively manage and regulate one’s emotions in a healthy and adaptive manner. This includes recognizing and understanding one’s emotions, as well as implementing strategies to control their intensity and duration. It plays a vital role in promoting emotional well-being, maintaining stable relationships, and navigating challenging situations. Developing emotional regulation skills allows individuals to express emotions appropriately, cope with stress, and make sound decisions.
Brain development in childhood refers to the complex and ongoing process by which the brain’s structures and functions evolve during the early years of life. During this time, the brain growths rapidly, dissolves unnecessary connections, and builds vital neural pathways. Brain development in childhood affects physical, social, emotional, and intellectual aspects, shaping cognitive abilities, language skills, emotional regulation, and social interactions. The brain’s adaptability, known as plasticity, allows it to adjust and reorganize in response to experiences and environmental stimuli. Nurturing relationships, a stimulating environment, proper nutrition, and positive experiences are important to support optimal brain development in childhood.
Screen time is the time a child spends using electronic devices such as televisions, computers, tablets, and smartphones. It’s important to highlight that excessive or inappropriate screen time can be detrimental to child development. It can hinder physical development by limiting active play and promoting a sedentary lifestyle. Social and emotional development can be impaired because screen time limits face-to-face contact and impede the development of essential social skills. Intellectual development can also be compromised, as excessive screen time can disrupt cognitive processes, attention span, and language development.
The link between misbehavior, refusal, and the hindrance of the 3 Basic Psychological Needs refers to the connection between a child’s challenging behaviors, such as defiance or refusal, and the unmet or thwarted psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. When these fundamental needs are not adequately met, children may engage in disruptive behaviors to assert autonomy, demonstrate competence, or seek attention and connection. Understanding this link highlights the importance of fostering an environment that supports children’s autonomy, promotes their sense of competence, and nurtures positive and meaningful relationships, to reduce the likelihood of challenging behaviors.
The 3 basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness refer to fundamental psychological requirements that are essential for human well-being and optimal functioning. Autonomy involves the need for independence, choice, and the ability to make decisions across various personal values and interests. Competence pertains to the need to feel capable, effective, and competent in accomplishing tasks and challenges. Relatedness entails the need for connection, belonging, and meaningful relationships with others. Satisfying these three basic psychological needs is critical to an individual’s positive psychological development, motivation, and overall psychological well-being.
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