This month, children can start to combine communication and self-control to attempt to manage aggression and explore new ways to resolve conflict. As an alternative to a frustration-fueled outburst, caregivers can say: “Use your words, please.” This opens the door to using new language skills to resolve conflicts.
The emergence of more sophisticated ways to solve problems expands into children’s social circles as well. You might notice their willingness to share even their favorite toys to stop a friend from crying. These acts of self-control and positive social interaction support their sense of independence. They also start to feel more comfortable with new friends, adults they’ve never met, or being away from their primary caregiver for an extended period of time.
This is also a time when children focus on exploring their senses: Reaching out to touch a blade of grass just to see what it feels like, or yelling into a paper cup to hear how their voice changes. These little experiments are accompanied by tons of questions too! When little ones become fixated on a new object or topic, they’re like little scientists obsessing about a new discovery. You might even hear them talking aloud to themselves when they’re exploring something new.
Memory is also rapidly improving around this time. Children at this age start to notice when something familiar in their world changes. If Grandpa shaves his beard or there’s a new kid in their playgroup, they won’t hesitate to talk about it. They’ll even go back into a room to find a toy because they remember playing with it there yesterday.
Children are getting better at being little helpers! Around this month, they can handle some basic chores around the house like helping make the bed, putting books on a shelf, or unloading safe objects from the dishwasher (plastic cups or spoons). Since they’re better with three-step commands (“Gather your toys, put them in the toy box, and close the box when you’re done”) they’re able to listen to instructions and take on some big-kid responsibilities!
Remember that children are delightfully unique and some of these milestones will happen before or after this month.