40 Development Assests of Toddlers
Are you helping your toddler become a successful adult? According to the Search Institute, there are 40 key developmental assets which you can provide to your child between the ages of 13 and 35 months that will help her transition through childhood and adulthood.
As you begin providing these assets to your toddler, keep in mind the following six guidelines provided by the Search Institute. First, remember that every positive adult and child who you know can be an encouraging influence on your toddler. Second, remember that your toddler needs as many of these 40 assets as possible to help her positively develop. Third, relationships are key to asset building, so provide your toddler with plenty of social interaction. Fourth, remember that asset building is a process that you will continue into adulthood. Fifth, provide consistent messages through the experiences and values that you teach your children -- make sure other adults, children and media are reinforcing your set of beliefs and values. Sixth, continually reinforce your messages throughout your toddler's life.
The Search Institute provides the following 40 assets which are critical to your toddler's development. They are divided into two key areas: external and internal assets, with four subcategories within each area.
External assets are those positive experiences that occur through sources outside of your toddler's own internal world, such as family, daycare, playgroups and other adults. The Search Institute has focused on four key external assets which are vital to your toddler's development: support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations, and constructive use of time.
Give your toddler loving support and care from your family, neighbors, and other children and adults. Make sure any out-of-home care locations are providing a positive, supportive environment. Try to say "yes" to your toddler more often than you say "no." Be your toddler's cheerleader as she learns new skills. Comfort and guide her when she becomes frustrated.
(1) Give your toddler family support by providing lots of love from all members.
(2) Provide positive family communication by communicating in positive ways and responding to your toddler's needs.
(3) Provide other adult relationships for help with caring for your toddler -- both to relieve your pressure and to give your toddler socialization with other adults.
(4) Surround your children with a caring neighborhood.
(5) Surround your children with a caring out-of-home climate.
(6) Become involved in out-of-home situations by communicating detailed care instructions to other caretakers.
As your children grow older, they need to know that they are valued members of their family and community. Begin giving your toddler simple tasks within the home, such as helping you put away her toys. Ensure that your toddler feels safe and secure, and by include her in family activities as often as possible.
(7) Make sure your community values children, and that your family and other adults in your community value and appreciate toddlers.
(8) Involve your toddler in various aspects of family life.
(9) Be a role model of selflessness and compassion by volunteering in the community.
(10) Provide your toddler with safe environments at home, in the neighborhood, and at other care locations. Invest in childproofing places your toddler spends time.
Boundaries and Expectations
All children need boundaries and limits. Begin giving your toddler simple commands and rules such as "sit down" and "don't bite." Maintain consistency as you enforce boundaries so that your child does not become confused over her limits. Be sure to praise your toddler when she acts appropriately. Give her plenty of structure in her routines and schedules.
(11) Adapt your home environment to suit your toddler's needs, and set age-appropriate limits for her.
(12) Make sure that any care facilities have established rules and provide the necessary activity and rest for your toddler.
(13) Work with your neighbors to keep an eye on each other's children as they begin playing outside and at neighbors' homes.
(14) Model responsible behavior.
(15) Allow your toddlers plenty of positive social interaction with their siblings and other children of various ages.
(16) Keep realistic expectations for your toddler's development. Don't push too hard to reach certain milestones.
Constructive Use of Time
Provide your toddler with constructive and enriching opportunities. Expose her to plenty of creative and developmental situations, but balance these structured times with free playtime. Look for experiences that will enrich your toddler's life, rather than just keeping her preoccupied.
(17) Expose your toddler to plenty of music, art and age-appropriate creative activities.
(18) Limit the number of out-of-home activities, particularly ones that are not stimulating for an toddler.
(19) Regularly attend religious services together as a family.
(20) Provide constant supervision at home of your toddler and establish predictable, enjoyable routines.
Internal assets are those experiences which help to develop a sense of confidence and purpose within your child. Internal assets focus on commitments, values, skills and a positive outlook on life. As your child grows, these assets will help her develop wisdom needed for decision making, conflict resolution and planning for the future. Search Institute provides four key areas of internal assets: commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies and positive identity.
Commitment to Learning
Instill the love of learning in your toddler by providing stimulating and developmental games and toys. Take her to new places, such as to the grocery store or a local park. Make learning fun by making up games or songs to help her learn vocabulary.
(21) Maintain a strong work and school ethic within the home, and model this motivation to your toddler.
(22) Make sure your family is modeling attentive attitudes toward work and school.
(23) Provide plenty of stimulating toys designed for your toddler's development stage. Be sensitive to your toddler's preferences and level of development.
(24) Model your love for learning to your toddler by engaging in new activities and educational experiences.
(25) Instill a love for reading by reading to you toddler every day.
Begin teaching your toddler to care for others through actions such as sharing and giving hugs. Interact with her in loving, respectful and caring ways. Encourage your other children to model caring behaviors for your toddler.
(26) Model caring and helpful behaviors.
(27) Model a concern for social issues.
(28) Model integrity by acting on your convictions.
(29) Model honesty by telling the truth.
(30) Communicate responsibility by taking personal responsibility for your duties and for the consequences of your actions.
(31) Provide the framework for a healthy lifestyle by showing and modeling love and healthy relationships, modeling good health and nutritional habits, and providing nutritional meals, adequate rest and playtime.
Begin training your toddler in social competencies by providing her with plenty of interactions with other toddlers, older children, and other adults. Teach her basic decision-making skills by allowing her to choose between two appealing options. Encourage her to express her feelings and begin explaining to her appropriate and inappropriate ways to act on her feelings.
(32) In teaching decision-making skills, model for your toddler how to make smart decisions in her care and safety, and begin providing her with simple choices.
(33) Teach your toddler the beginnings of interpersonal skills by responding to her nonverbal and verbal communications and by modeling positive interactions with other people.
(34) Provide opportunities for your toddler to interact with people of various cultures, races and ethnic backgrounds.
(35) Model resistance skills by demonstrating that you are not overwhelmed by your toddler's needs.
(36) Model conflict resolution skills. Help your toddler work through frustrating circumstances and help her solve problems with toys and games.
Everyone needs to feel a sense of self-worth and purpose. Create a home environment which breeds positive self-esteem, healthy attitudes, and effective coping skills. Focus on what your toddler is doing right, not her mistakes. When she acts out or makes a mistake, focus on the behavior and not the child. For example instead of saying, "No! You're being a bad girl!" try "No, it's not OK for you to do that."
(37) Demonstrate that you have control over certain aspects of your life by modeling coping skills and healthy stress management.
(38) Create a positive home environment which promotes positive self-esteem and encouragement. Give your toddler plenty of positive feedback and reinforcement about their developing skills.
(39) Demonstrate through your actions that your life has purpose. Encourage your toddler to explore the world around her.
(40) Maintain a positive outlook for your own future, and work at providing a positive future for your toddler.
In 1989 the Search Institute began researching those experiences, attitudes, and behaviors which positively shape the lives of young people. They identified 40 key assets which were most common among successful adolescents. They found that the more assets these youth possessed, the more positive and healthy their development. However, the fewer the assets, the more likely they would engage in risky behaviors such as drug use, violence, and unsafe sex. Sadly, the Search Institute has found that the average youth has only experienced 19 out of the 40 assets. Over the years, the organization has modified its original study on adolescents to include childhood development issues.
Search Institute -- http://www.search-institute.org
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