Parenting The Mind of a Toddler

Why do toddlers always knock things over?

It turns out that knocking things over is actually a really important step in helping your child understand their place in the world.

Our twins are both at the developmental stage where everything must be knocked over. And if it’s not being knocked over, then it’s being emptied, kicked down, ripped, thrown across the room and destroyed at all cost.

It’s annoying. And annoyingly adorable.

But why the hell do they do it?

It turns out that knocking things over is actually a really important step in helping your child understand their place in the world. In fact, it’s a prerequisite if they are going to make purposeful decisions in the years that follow.

Right as your child enters their toddlers years, they are beginning to combine simple actions to cause things to occur. It takes time, but by 18 months they are starting to understand that for every action there’s a reaction. This is strengthening their comprehension of cause and effect while helping to refine their fine and gross motor skills.

That means every time they knock over a tower or empty a tub of toys that you’ve JUST cleaned up, it’s actually increasing their sense of control over the world. This behaviour encourages them to be more proactive and less passive, as having influence over your environment often gives you confidence.

When does this slightly annoying stage end?

At around 36 months, children will demonstrate an understanding of cause and effect by making predictions. In fact, they will start reflecting on what caused something to happen. It’s obviously possible before, but this is when more rational conversations with them will be possible.

So if you’re in the thick of it like we are, you have a few more months of destruction ahead of you. But instead of destruction, think of it as necessary education!

Did know why your kids knocked things over? Well, now you know!

Speaking of knowing… if you’re keen to understand what the heck is going on with your toddler, check out The Mind of a Toddler page for interesting answers to your burning questions!

Until next time, stay crafty.

Credit: Images taken by Ramone Minchero. Key information sourced from Life Learning Center, Inspiration Laboratories and Parenting Simply.

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