When our baby turned 15 months old she began showing strong signs of self-affirmation crisis, or in other words, becoming a toddler. It was time to make changes in our home to support her during this new stage of life and change areas to better meet her needs. In this blog post I will share some ages and stages of young toddlers and practical life areas for toddlers at home.
Signs and expressions of self-affirmation:
- Increase in tantrums
- Interest in practical activities/household tasks
- Resistance getting dressed, changing diaper, brushing teeth, etc.
- Interest in water
- Desire to help adults
- Can follow a 2 step process
- Can follow simple instructions
- Strong feelings towards and against things
- Preference of choosing between two things, even two of the same thing
Definition of self-affirmation crisis:
This is also called the “Opposition Crisis” or mistakingly referred to as the “Terrible Twos”. In a person’s second year of life there is an explosion of language which parallels the self-affirmation crisis. At this moment the child learns his favourite word: “no.” They don’t necessarily say it because they don’t want something, but because they want to be respected as a individual with their own point of view.
Changes in the child:
- The child starts to gain more physical control of themselves and their surroundings.
- They understand that they are a completely different person from their caregivers and start saying “no!” Children test the limits and seek a deeper understanding.
- She starts showing more uncertainty and having conflicting ideas and attitudes.
Due to this humanisation, the child is prone to frustration and bursting into tears.
- By three years old the ego has been nearly fully formed. By the end of this period the child will use the pronoun “I” instead of “me” or saying his name.
This signifies the completion of personal boundaries and the beginning of knowledge of the self in contrast to others.
Ideas for changes in the home
The first area we changed was in the bathroom. As discussed in the Toilet Awareness Workshop we added a simple potty, carpet, and sink to the bathroom when Jennie started walking.
Now we added a small mirror, towel hooks, wall art made by Jennie in her Montessori Baby Class, which we placed in a plastic frame. After making these changes Jennie noticed immediately and started to use this area more frequently for its intended function, rather than just exploring it.
The next space was a self-care area in her bedroom. This is a small table made from a cube chair turned on its front. The mirror is stick-on plastic and non-breakable mirror. The blue container is for hair bows and is from Tiger Copenhagen. The wooden tray is from Ikea and keeps tissues for nose wiping. The wall hooks are secondhand from HM Home and the matching bags were made by hand by a friend. We use them for cream, sunglasses, hair clips and hair ties, and a brush and comb. The first day we set it up Jennie was so excited that she spent an hour exploring all these materials. She now uses this space every day.
Finally we made this little kitchen for Jennie which is still in progress. So far she uses it only for drinking water and taking her snacks, but eventually I plan to set it up for simple cooking activities and dish washing work.
The kitchen is from Ikea, bought secondhand. The cutting board was custom made by Chad. The water dispenser is made of plastic and it’s very easy to use. I attached it with velcro stickers so Jennie can easily push the button. I also found these lovely trays which fit perfectly, also at IKEA. The enamel trash can also comes with a cute lid, but it’s too distracting and hard to open for the time-being. On the side I have attached stick-on hooks for her dustpan, broom, mini mop (from Kaufland, no link), and wash cloths.
Finally I bought a role of adhesive foil on Amazon to add some color to the space. The mat and wall art are both from IKEA. These additions are mainly cosmetic, but making the space beautiful is inviting and attracts the child’s attention. They really appreciate all the little details.
And that is all of Jennie’s new practical life areas at home for the moment now that she’s a big, grown up toddler. 🙂
Since making these changes we have noticed a lot less tantrums and frustration. She is also so proud of herself when she knows where to do things and where the materials go. It was so simple and inexpensive to make these small changes for her and has made a big difference in our daily routine.
More ways to help children during the self-affirmation crisis:
- Activities like riding, pushing, jumping encourage their physical development. They provide opportunities for positive output of energy.
- Offering 2 choices as often as possible helps to resolve and prevent problems without creating strife between child and parent.
Offer two acceptable choices, for example:
“Do you want to go to the beach or to the park today?”
“Do you want eggs or porridge for breakfast?”
This shows respect to the child because you asked for his opinion.
2 choices also has the huge advantage of teaching reflection. The child has to consider before he answers. Starting this early helps children to be able to make bigger choices in the future. In situation when there is no possibility for choice, you must be firm and honest. Set the clear limit and enforce it consistently in a loving and respectful manner.
I hope this has been interesting and helpful!
Thank you for reading.