How Toddlers Think. A toddler holds her finger to her chin, thinking.

How Toddlers Think

The toddler years, those years between infancy and pre-school, are some of the most dramatic.  This is the time in a child’s life when dramatic conflicts are experienced.  Toddlers learn to resist expectations, including sleeping through the night, toilet training, following rules, even eating together in peace.  So what is going on?   Why is this a time of childhood so packed with intense drama?

In this episode of ParentTalk: Managing the Challenges of Daily Parenting we explore the question, how do toddlers think?, with a terrific pediatrician, Dr. Wendy Hunter, who is the host of her own podcast for parents, The Pediatrician Next Door.  Dr. Hunter has committed a great deal of interest to this question, and listeners will be in for a treat as we step into the mind of a toddler.

All of the key observations on how a toddler’s mind works starts with the fact that this is the age when a baby begins to see that they are part of a bigger world than just Mom and Dad, and that this world includes their own self.  Babies are born consciously unaware of the fact that they are there.  They have no way of knowing the situation they are in could possibly different, never mind the idea that they can change it.

Around 18 months of age, that all changes. An explosion of awareness, what we call the big bang of consciousness, bursts on the scene, in the mind of the now toddler, and nothing remains the same.  From the intensity of toddler emotion, to the newness of their emerging awareness, to the constancy of their intense learning, the mind of the toddler is a different world than ours. Come join us in exploring this great world.

For more information about Dr. Hunter, we highly recommend giving her podcast a listen, and her blog a look.  They are among our favorites for parents and families.  You can find both here.

“As an adult, you can’t even get through your day if you have to look at everything. With a child, they can’t learn to become an adult if they’re ignoring stuff.”

– Wendy Hunter

Episode Highlights:

– How toddlers see the world.

– Do toddlers lack focus, or do they focus on everything at once?

– Concept of mind, theory of mind, and toddler behavior.

– Toddlers and empathy. Is my child mean?

– Why does my toddler lie?

– Teaching your toddler to make amends.

– Toddlers and impulse control.

– Setting reasonable expectations.

– Putting on your toddler goggles: relating to your child.