The period from eighteen months to three years is one of rapid physical, emotional and social change. Toddlers are becoming more aware of the world around them. They may have formed attachments to many caregivers (i.e. parents, grandparents, daycare providers, close family friends). They are beginning to trust that their caregivers will meet their physical and emotional needs. Toddlers can respond to different parenting styles.
They are becoming more independent and are developing the ability to comfort themselves (i.e. favorite blanket or toy or thumbsucking).
Healthy children of this age are “full of themselves” and may express their independence by saying “No” to requests and demands. Some children at this age may become fearful of separations, so that transitions between homes may be difficult. Some children may cling to a parent or cry at the separation from one or both parents. Resistance to exchanges is normal for many children. This behavior does not necessarily mean that the other parent is not a good parent or that the child does not want to be with one parent or the other.
If parents share driving, it is sometimes easier for children if the parent they are with drops them off to the other parent. This avoids interrupting ongoing activities that sometimes occur when a parent comes to pick up the child, and it signals parental support for the transition. Predictable schedules and supporting the relationship with the other parent can make exchanges easier. Toddlers are particularly sensitive to tension, anger and violence in the parental relationship.