Toddler Autonomy

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September 14, 2021
2 min read

Toddlers have a developing autonomy

From about 2 years onwards children have a developing autonomy, that sees an increase in their desire to make their own decisions and control their own lives.

Developing autonomy can increase challenging toddler behaviour

This can present challenges with sleep, meal-time and performing tasks like washing, brushing teeth, getting dressed, getting out the door in the morning…. It feels like just about everything can become a battle at times.

Being firm with routines is key

It’s important now – more than ever – to be firm and consistent with their routine.

A great tip for this period is giving your child the illusion of autonomy by – for example – providing them two options for clothes, or two options for a meal, allowing them to have control over their decisions, but always within the boundaries of your choosing.

Child Psychologist Amanda Abel has contributed significantly to the Dr Golly Sleep Program on how best to the growing developmental needs of toddlers & preschoolers – particularly when it comes to tantrums in this age cohort.

Amanda Abels

Amanda is a paediatric psychologist, mum, and founding director of Northern & Hawthorn Centre for Child Development.

Working directly and indirectly with hundreds of clients each year, her mission is for every child to achieve their best outcomes by equipping families, educators and corporate clients with the tools they need to help kids thrive.

Amanda is the resident psychologist & Advisory Board member at TotallyAwesome – a global child-focussed media company, where she helps to ensure advertising and branding content aimed at children is appropriate.

Contact details:; (+613) 9079 8043;

Learn more about the Dr Golly Philosophy here.

Shop the Dr Golly Sleep Program age appropriate routines here.

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