The children’s abilities vary depending on their age. It is important we know the development stages so we can manage potential problems. Jean Paiget, pioneer in this field in the 20th century, described children as actively engaged in their development, creatures who, through their interactions with the environment, build a complex understanding of the world in which they live, starting with the senso-motor stages of early childhool to the formal and logical stage of adolescence.
It is important we know the development stages, so we don’t force children perform certain tasks for which they are not yet ready. The transition has to be made easily, with no hostility or resistance. Even though the little ones do not comprehend a lot of things, they are perfectly capable of feeling the tension around them, and when it comes to their own tension, they are not able to manage it.
This is where the parent comes in to make the child feel that it is ok to feel sad at times and that there are time when we cannot get what we want. This ability to manage stress is a learned one and children need to be taught strategies from an early stage.
When a child is two years old, it is said he experiences his first adolescence. This is because the child experiences many changes and he needs the attention and guidance of adults around him. There needs to be a good collaboration between the parents/careers and a good communication, so they share the vision and strategy to manage the situations which the child.
How do we characterise the two year old child?
Ego-centric - or „I want”- At two, a child is focused on his own needs, feelings and desires. When something is denied, he feels frustrated and that is why it is very important that parents explain the reasons for the boundaries set. When the child understands his own emotions, he will start understanding the emotions of others.
Curiosity and the need for autonomy - or ‘I can’ – Curiosity makes a child explore the environment and test his abilities. Once this stage is accomplished, the little ones will start doing more things on their own and feel the satisfaction of their work/successes. The role of adults around the child is to encourage them, to help them manage the failure so that they develop perseverance.
Anger– Children live daily events with greater intensity because they do not have the mechanism to manage their emotions. They need to cry to release the tension. These episodes can be of different intensity (they can be accompanied by tantrums, kicking, hitting etc) and help release the tension. The adult has to keep calm, offer understanding and the emotions support the child needs. It is important for the adult to recognise that he needs to distance himself emotionally from the episode so that they do not charge with negative emotions and maintain an empathic relation with the child. The adult is needed then to help the child identify and manage his emotions. Crying has an important role in emotional release. Adults need it too.