Learning about other people
The toddler is not only exploring his physical world but also exploring his relationships with other people. He knows his own family fairly well by now. He knows the relatives and some of the neighbors, but he may still be shy when some outsider approaches him or tries to talk or play with him. He may go to grandma or a neighbor for a few minutes and then run right back to mother. He should not be forced to go to others unless he wants to. He still needs the security and reassurance of being near his mother.
Other children interest him. He may go up to them and poke or touch them, or just stand and look at them. He does not know how to play with other children. He does not yet know how to be generous or to share his toys, but he is more likely to snatch for himself the toy the other child is holding. When he does this he should not be scolded, for he has no idea about sharing or taking turns. Instead, the toy should be returned to the other child, while he is given another toy. This is his first step in learning that he cannot take something from someone else. The lesson will have to be patiently repeated many times before the child is old enough to remember about sharing and taking turns.
A child of this age cannot be left alone with another child of the same age and be expected either to protect himself or not to strike, and even hurt, the other youngster. The child’s social life is only just beginning, and he still needs his mother or father to show him how to behave and to protect him from being too much hurt by other children. Long contacts with other children are likely to be tiring at this age and to end in tears and crossness. A little while together at first is a good beginning in learning how to enjoy other children and get along with them. (End)