A toddler is at an odd stage in life. Development comes at different times for each individual. Some are potty trained, talk and walk with ease. Some do one or another of those things. Some seem very much behind the rest of the others in the group. Observing them and documenting them is essential for the parents and any health or behavioral professional. The main thing is to pay attention to the individual toddler and make note of what you observe.
Learn to be able to watch one toddler versus a room of toddlers in your charge. Take a moment to view a particular one you plan to observe and write about and notice what this toddler does and who he is, both in situ (on his own) or in the group.
Compare and contrast the toddler's behavior with others after careful observation. Make note of language development and how he relates to others. Do he use words to relate or does he mostly use actions? Include the toddler's methods of communication with others, including yourself.
Include, without pulling any punches, any behavior that is previolent or if the toddler tends to lash out at himself or others in frustration. Hitting, biting and ignoring potty training rules are ways toddlers act out their frustration; these toddlers' behaviors need to be documented as observations to avoid mistaking those actions for an overall violent personality.
Take good notes on any behavior that seems off, particularly a lack of balance, cognition, hearing or sight. These very important actions require follow-up with health professionals.
Establish a rating system that is simple (1 to 5) and explain it on every toddler observation. Then, give each toddler a rating that will help parents and others get a sense of this individual’s development versus the others.
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