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Written By: Psychologist Natasha Tanic
Many toddlers have a habit of handing things to adults, with no obvious reason, and you may wonder why your child, and kids in general, like to hand things to adults.
Your little toddler will be playing with a toy one moment and the next moment they’ll hand it to you.
Or they will simply pick up a toy or some other object, come straight to you and give you the toy/object to hold.
So why does your toddler give you toys to hold? There are a few possible answers to this question, so let’s delve into some of them.
Your Toddler Seeks Clarification
Your child has learned by now that he can rely on you for support, help, and explanations.
So, he may simply be puzzled about the toy and seek clarification – he may not understand something about the toy and want you to show him how it works.
Your Toddler is Discovering the Skill of Mobility
Toddlers are fascinated with how the world around them works.
A two year old has discovered that she exists separately from other things around her.
Your toddler learns that she can control things by moving them around, hiding them, giving them to you, and getting them back.
Your Toddler Asks for Attention
Young children learn a great portion of their behavior through operant conditioning (also known as instrumental conditioning).
According to the behavioral theory of development, operant conditioning is a way of learning in which we modify behavior using reinforcement or punishment.
Operant behaviors are behaviors under conscious control, whether they occur purposely or spontaneously.
Nevertheless, the consequences of these behaviors determine whether or not they happen again in the future.
In behavioral theory, this process of establishing a new behavior is known as shaping.
Therefore, if your toddler handed you a toy once spontaneously and got your attention in the form of a positive response, such as verbal praise, a smile, a clap, or a hug, he will think that handing you toys must be a good thing, as it provokes your positive response.
So he will stick to behaviors that are going to bring a positive response.
Your Toddler Seeks Interaction
Your toddler has learned to initiate interaction and he now enjoys the intimate, responsive exchange between the two of you.
Young children learn and develop through continuous social interaction and warm, responsive interaction between them and their caregiver.
Many studies show that this positive and caring interaction between a young child and his attachment figure is good for healthy brain development and the child’s well-being.
Your toddler is simultaneously learning many new things, such as talking, eye contact, observation, emotional expression and control, attachment, and much more.
Every new experience and social interaction lights up your child’s brain.
Neuroscience research has shown that brain development in early childhood is rapid and radical.
Brain development and growth progress astonishingly from the third week after conception (the third gestational week) to the fifth year of life.
More than a million neural connections (synapses) are created in every second of this stage of development.
In short, the brain is most flexible to learning during the first few years of life.
Repetition is a basic foundation of learning, particularly in early childhood, as it initiates new neural connections in your toddler’s brain.
A young child’s brain is designed to gather information on the environment through experiences.
This shows how important sustained stimulation and interaction are essential for normal brain development.
Continue to part two of the article.