Toddler: Relationships With Other Children

Posted by Nate McCallister on December 16, 2015
Toddler-Cleaning-Floor

Did you almost slip and fall on your extra slick floor with the new mysterious sheen recently? Perhaps your toddler has been cleaning again.

At this age toddlers begin to emulate roles they see others in. They may see you vacuum, dust, or mow the lawn and then do the same.

These new found “skills” (don’t worry we’ll work on honing them later) indicate progress toward building relationships with other children. An ability to copy others is an important part of social emotional development.

More examples of progress and quick tips to support it follow.


Age: 18-36 Months
Domain: Social Emotional Development
Sub-domain: Relationships With Other Children


Progress and Support

Toddlers show progress when they

  • learn the names of other children,
  • pretend to feed stuffed animals,
  • get excited upon seeing other children,
  • look for an adult to help when a child is hurt,
  • try to comfort crying children.

Quick tips to support progress follow:

  • talk to the child about what other children may be feeling when they are upset, frustrated, or happy,
  • provide plenty of opportunities for the child to play with other children in various settings,
  • supply groups of children with enough toys so they can play side by side instead of having to share or take turns (they’ll learn that later),
  • help toddlers engage in pretend play by providing play dishes, cars, animals, and other toys.

What items does your child enjoy to play with the most? Cars, animals, books, dress-up clothes?


Resources: Minnesota’s Early Childhood Indicators of Progress, 2007

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Author: Nate McCallister

Nate McCallister started with SonShine Learning Center in 2003 as a preschool teacher. Today, he works as the organization’s financial director and is the site director at the Luther location. He earned a bachelor’s degree in technical communication and professional writing from Metropolitan State University and studied early childhood education at St. Paul College.