As children grow from infants to toddlers, they undergo several major rapid developmental changes that support their increasing independence. First, during this period a child moves from crawling to walking and running. This newfound mobility allows children to explore with increasing curiosity. Some parents may find their child now “gets into everything” and child-proofing the environment becomes a must. It can be challenging to both support their growing curiosity and also monitor their safety, with discipline struggles emerging as well. Second, children’s sense of self is also developing, along with their likes and dislikes. Perhaps one of the most significant milestones is children’s ability to use words to communicate their wants and needs. These budding language skills impact the parent-child relationship in new and important ways because children can now communicate their wants and needs using simple words like yes, no, and want. While children are experiencing major developmental milestones, those attending an early care and education setting may also be moving from an infant to a toddler classroom. It is important to maintain continuity to the extent possible during this transition. When the same caregiver isn’t able to follow children from an infant room to a toddler room, ensuring alignment between caregivers in each setting is important. Planning for this change in advance and communicating what will happen with families and children helps to ease fears. Helpful transition activities include inviting children to visit their new classroom with parents or maintaining some similar routines in the new classroom.
- Support infant/toddler transitions and responsive interactions through the Expanding Quality in Infant Toddler Care Initiative (EQIT)
- Head Start Infant/Toddler Curriculum Series
- Continuity of care