Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Providing Toddlers with the Tools for Success by Angela Johnson

When your 2 year old child’s room is messy, do you tell the child to go clean their room or do you start by asking them to pick up certain items, such as blocks, and help them get started?  A caregiver needs to be sure the child has the ability to succeed at the task.  A good start would be to help the child organize their toys in a bin with different compartments.  It can be a game and an enjoyable bonding experience.  The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) suggests that a caregiver needs to consider a child’s level of understanding when interacting with the child and they need to build on the knowledge and level the child is currently at.  When you get down on the floor and play with your child and see them struggling with something, such as building or placing shapes in the right hole, it is important to guide them to success.  Talking to your child about all the simple events that happen throughout the day will help them develop in many areas.  It is also important to encourage their involvement in your daily activities, even if it takes twice as long to accomplish the task at hand.  In the end, it will be beneficial to everyone involved.
 To help toddlers gain self-control and teach them to conform to rules, a caregiver should be considerate of the child's needs.  If your child is busily playing and you plan to leave in 5 minutes, let the child know they have 5 minutes.  Simply thinking about things from your child’s perspective and on their level will help your day flow more rhythmically.  Angela Johnson


  1. I enjoyed your blog. One of my granddaughters loves to help so when she stays the night I let her help me wash dishes, she loves it. She doesnt like to clean her room but I tell my daughter that she needs to do one thing at a time and praise her. Whenever she is with me, she always wants to help. If she wants to do something like draw but doesnt want to pick her cup up off floor I just tell her soon as you pick up your cup we can draw or color together and then she'll pick up her cup. I feel it is just sometimes the way we word stuff and our tone.
    felicia wiseman

  2. Really good blog Angela. I know for me, sometimes I get so wrapped up in what i am doing and neglect to think of my children on their levels. Sometimes just hearing it from another persons perspective helps me to remember after all they are just children..
    emma bukowski

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post! I remember being at day care and we had a "game" of picking up the toys in the toy room. I never thought about it on a psychological level before. Very interesting!

  4. I really enjoyed reading your blog. Sometimes I feel as though parents expect unrealistic expectations from their toddlers. I hear things like he/she knew better, or they know what I mean.I agree that helping the child pick up their toys and making a team effort instead of a demand will lead to healthy development.As a parent of adult children now, I look back on my own experiences and expectations I had as a young mother. I must admitt, I was not a controlling parent infact I was the one who picked up their messes. Now when they got older I started expecting more out of them. Once when my daughter was in high school, she kept taking food and drinks into her room and never would return the dishes. I became aggravated with her and told her if you don't clean up after yourself then everything I find will be in your bed waiting for you when you get home. Well, needless to say she didn't pick it up, so I put everything in the center of her bed.Maybe a little harsh, but she brought the dishes into the kitchen after that. Of course we can't expect toddlers to understand consequences. Oh, by the way my kids seem to be fine and turned out to be great adults. Although I never put demands on them as toddlers, I guess I never was taught that was right.

  5. This was a good Blog Angela!! I have always struggled with certain decisions pertaining to my daughtr. I get those parenting magazines all the time, but do I ever read them? Well..sometimes I do and then when I do I feel like they don't apply. But, this one does, I regularly find myself cleaning up after my daughter because she makes a huge mess in her room. I get frustrated when I ask her to help me because it takes three times as long. But now that I have read your blog I know that everything we do is good for your child, all the way up to telling them you are leaving in five minutes. Thank you!!

    Jackie Raio

  6. I love your post. Definitely giving clear expectations to young children makes it easier for them to understand. I've even heard that giving them no more than 1 or more tasks to complete at a time within an expected goal is helpful. For example don't expect a child to hear, "Pick up your room, put away your shoes at the front door, and brush your teeth" and then successfully accomplish all 3. Pick one goal to work on at a time and give specific requests, ie. put the dolls to bed. It is challenging to be patient in teaching young children but it pays off later if you can scaffold their learning.
    ~Kori Bower

  7. I strongly believe keeping children involved with everything you do is beneficial to you and the children. I enjoyed having my girls in the kitchen with me. They learned from me and I learned from them. These are lifelong lessons they are learning. I think we ca call them "Tools for the Future." I do believe we can expect too much of small children. As Kori stated in her reply do not give children too many tasks at one time. It is too overwhelming and confusing for them. It is best to start with one or two tasks and increase the number of tasks when they get older.
    Susan Davis