First of all, let’s be real, of course they do…it is literally your toddlers’ job to move. It is also their job to become independent from you. This means the overall job description for a toddler is “run away from mum”
Your toddlers’ brain is growing at a faster rate than at any other time in their life. All brain development happens through movement, so they are literally building their brains as they move. It makes sense that all children would be at their wriggliest between 1 and 3. One of your primary goals at this age is to create safe spaces to meet their very real need to move. Parks and wide-open spaces with grass are your best friends when you parent a toddler. Time for free safe running should be made every day.
Wear them out! With this need met they will be less likely to run at the super-market and if you tire them out, they might just sleep better. But your other primary goal is to keep your toddler safe.
That is why the challenging task of introducing self-regulation alongside independence is essential. Independence without self-regulation causes unpredictable, emotional and eccentric behaviour.
Why is toddler behaviour so tricky to regulate?
Although toddlers can move…and move fast… they have absolutely no ability to judge distance or speed. In fact, they have very little peripheral vision. They can neither see the child coming in the opposite direction OR respond in time to avoid colliding. They can’t yet imagine how someone else feels. They are completely surprised by someone being hurt by their actions and feel no responsibility for it. They also have little ability to motor plan. They don’t think ahead or know what might happen if they do something. Throwing a ball at mummies face isn’t mean, it’s just an action without motor planning.
Toddlers have little impulse control. They will do whatever comes to mind in the moment. They can’t stop themselves from doing what they want to do or make themselves do something they don’t want to do. This is still your job and the adult. The frontal lobe, which is responsible for all this self-regulation, is not yet working to capacity (and won’t develop completely until adulthood). A toddler cannot hear what you are saying when their attention is on something else. You may need to touch, turn them to you, or pick them up before they can hear you. They “hear” actions and tone, not words. Especially if your words don’t match your actions. A very interesting concept that has allowed many parents to change their approach to toddler behaviour management.
Our Hive classrooms are a unique space. How many other places do you go where there are 14 toddlers and 14 adults in the same place? We see so many beautiful little personalities in all sorts of emotional states. Foremost, how we interact at Hive is really about nurturing children as individuals, whilst guiding them through a social setting in safe environment. Our classes provide a toddler with structure and we introduce purposeful activities to move in each class, usually with their adult guiding them. When introducing these activities, you will hear your teacher give guidelines to help you, such as “stay with your child” and “move in the same direction” It is important to follow these guidelines for everyone’s safety.
Our teachers and reception staff are all parents too. We are never surprised or alarmed when your toddler acts like a toddler. We are here to support and you guide your child in the classroom to be safe while having as much fun as possible. Developing self-regulation is so important as they will need to be able to utilise these skills when they start school as independent learners in the coming years. Start your journey today!
We cant wait to see you in class.