The Natural Child

Toddler Conflicts, Sharing and Turn Taking

We have all experienced the often tense situation of two toddlers in a tussle over a toy! In actual reality, how we perceive conflicts in social interactions between toddlers can often be more distressing for us than what they actually are for the children themselves! If you have ever observed infants interacting with one another, you would see their consistent attempts at connecting by offering up toys or naturally negotiating swaps without any fuss. Toddlerhood brings a new developmental phase of experimenting with their understanding of self and therefore their impact on their world.

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Amanda Richardson
Encouraging Independent Play!

There is debate amongst experts in parenting methods as to whether independent play is positive, or even possible, in the early years. It is, however, a great gift to both the child, and the adult! For the child it provides the opportunity for the development of concentration, and skill mastery driven by their innate desire to learn about their world. Parents who foster this practice reap the wonderful benefit of observing their child’s independent activity with great enjoyment, as well as getting other important tasks done.

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Amanda Richardson
Setting up an environment that invites meaningful play!

Many parents wonder whether they should store all the toys in their child’s room, or create a playroom. My personal preference is to create a play space, separate from their sleeping space if possible. It certainly doesn’t have to be an entire room, but ideally it is a designated area where they can see and access play objects. I remember as a new mum living in a small unit with one living area and setting up a small space for our daughter. It was great until it slowly  started to take over the entire room. Firstly I recommend the toy declutter (read tackling the toy ‘takeover’) to avoid this scenario, but the next thing I suggest is setting up a system that has the added benefit of inviting meaningful play to the child:

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Amanda Richardson
Tacking the toy ‘takeover’

As we settle into a fresh new year usually we are motivated to streamline our lives and homes, for a more organised and productive lifestyle. Let’s not forget, however, that we have just spent the last month accumulating more ‘things’ into our homes over the festive season! Watching our children excitedly unwrap toys they may have wished for all year, or been sent so generously to them by loved ones is a beautiful thing! But once the magic is over, we need to find a place for them in our house. If you have young children, I am sure you can identify with the image of toys scattered all over the floor of a room or spread through the house and found in the most random places - like the time I climbed into my bed to rest my weary head at night, only to discover it filled with every soft toy owned by my two daughters.

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Amanda Richardson