What is your child capable of at the moment? What are most children their age capable of at this age? Is your child advanced in any area of development that you could continue to nurture and encourage? Do you notice any delays? (If you do, don't panic, children develop at their own pace and their is a wide range of what is considered "normal". Pay attention to these areas over the next few months and evaluate with your pediatrician, if necessary).
What is the "Zone of Proximal Development"?
The Zone of Proximal Development is a very technical term for the difference between what your child can do on their own, independently, and what they can do with your help. This is the ideal place to focus your efforts. What can your little one do with a little help? Encourage them to try things on their own, but avoid challenging to the point of frustration.
Sometimes this means demonstrating how to do something, sometimes it means doing most of a task and letting them finish the last few steps. For example, if your toddler is learning zippers, start the zipper and zip it half way, letting them finish the rest. If they have difficulty grasping the zipper, try holding their hand over the zipper and let them direct the motion.
What about emotional and social development?
I frequently encourage parents to examine which psychological needs are highest for their child and work at meeting those needs in subtle, but proactive ways. This infographic on basic psychological needs helps explain what each of these needs looks like. In a future post, I'll be writing more about what this looks like.
So, what New Year's Resolutions is Your Toddler Setting?
This was really a fun post to write. What proactive steps will you be taking this year with your child? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear what you think and thoughtful comments are always welcome. Happy New Year!