Your toddler and the concept of storage

They may have the whole world at their fingertips, but Baby is still learning about ways to use their hands. Toddlers are pretty hands-on people and if they’re not holding one object, there’s a good chance they’re grabbing ahold of something else – which can make life tricky for their parents, especially during grocery shopping. For now, there’s a good chance that, if you’re out shopping with Baby, and you want them to let go of something shiny, you’ll be able to distract them just by handing them one or two more things they might be interested in, but before too long, they are going to discover the concept of storage, which could make this even trickier.

Toddlers and the trials of only having two hands

When older babies and very young toddlers have their hands in something they shouldn’t, distraction is generally the best strategy. This is true with most boundaries when it comes to very young children, because their brains are still learning the rules about the world, and they aren’t really able to learn anything from punishments like time-outs yet. When it comes to those grabby hands, it’s often simple enough to just to offer a young child two more objects they might like to hold – generally, they will drop the original object to make room in their hands for the two new ones.

As a young toddler grows older, though, and their memories expand and they start to have a stronger sense of object permanence, they’re more likely to try to hold onto the first object somehow, by tucking it under an arm, holding it in their mouth, or trying to hold two things in one hand. That is, by the time they are about a year old, they have stopped living totally in the moment, and has discovered the concept of storage, and saving something for later.

  • Sara Aase. “Why Toddlers Hold Things.” Parenting. Meredith women’s network. Web.
  • T. Berry Brazelton. Touchpoints. 10th Edition. Joshua D. Sparrow. Da Capo Press, 2006. Print.

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