1. Young children (2-3) are not as self-centered as toddlers, who see themselves as the center of the universe and demand to be waited on. They still want you to play with them without interruptions.
2. Young children (4-5) can tell stories about their day. They can also be left alone for short periods (a half-hour at the most).
3. Young children enjoy imaginative play, like pretending that mommy or daddy is a doll to be played with and dressed up.
4. Toddlers are much more mobile than young children so expect to have your every move observed by toddlers. They are also much more likely to climb out of their cribs or playpens, so close supervision is always necessary.
5. Toddlers need language skills for emotional development. That’s why they repeat what you say all the time – they want to learn how to communicate so they can express themselves better.
That’s why it is so easy to get into power struggles with them. They want you to be a playmate and they see themselves as your equal; which we all know isn’t true!
6. Young children (2-3) can walk, run and climb but not for very long distances or long periods without getting tired. They must be watched carefully around the stairs.
7. Toddlers can walk, run and climb for longer distances and periods of time but still need to be monitored about their safety around stairs, traffic, etc. They also have a keen curiosity about the world at large.
8. Young children do not go through mood swings in the same way that toddlers do. They are able to take into account the effect of their behavior on others and are not likely to throw temper tantrums for no apparent reason.
9. Toddlers seem to go through several changes in mood during any given day, even minute by minute or hour by hour, so they do need time-outs if naughty behavior becomes dangerous to themselves or others.
10. Young children are more adaptable, they are able to blend in with the crowd better than toddlers – who either want to stand out or be really close to mommy all of the time, which means that if you take them into a store for example they will need constant attention and distractions so as not to make a fuss.
11. Toddlers are not yet ready to blend in with the crowd but will enjoy their place at your side; they will prefer to walk when out and about rather than be pushed in a stroller or buggy, which is another reason for close supervision.
12. Young children like food that’s familiar – they want what they saw you eating for dinner or what they had at their last meal.
13. Toddlers are often very fussy with food, in fact, they may go through what is known as an ‘I hate everything’ phase; will only eat one type of food and nothing else; refuse to use a spoon and will eat off the table and floor. They may also take a dislike to their favorite meal and refuse it completely, so it’s hard at times to know what they will eat or not!
14. Young children can drink from a cup with supervision fairly early on in life – again it depends on the child and there is no age set in stone when this should happen…by 18 months?…24 months?…older?
15. Toddlers use a bottle or sippy cup for a while still, they may also prefer to eat from a spoon.
16. Young children know the difference between fantasy and reality, for instance, they can pretend that mommy is a doll and they are playing with her.
17. Toddlers can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality – for them mommy is a doll to be played with and the reason they do this is for emotional development.