Peek-a-boo! I’m still here!
Ever played peek-a-boo with a toddler and wondered how they can be continuously amused that you are behind that blanket? In fact, the more you do it, the happier they seem! Montessori observed that children, especially around the ages of 2-2.5 years, have a great love for order. Love, like it’s magic! Children love things to be the same and for every thing to have its place. It is extremely comforting to them. So keeping your child’s environment orderly where they can find things in the same places is an important contributor to engendering a sense of safety and security in your child.
When I am around my friend’s toddlers, they are often amused that their child and I seem to entertain ourselves for hours on end doing not much. They are right! We do a few things but we do it a lot! Once we had a bowl of 4-5 walnuts. I showed her how to remove 1 at a time until the bowl is empty. Then I showed her how to return the walnuts into the bowl 1 at a time again! This is at least 15 minutes of fun. How she loved that the walnut had a place to go! And how she loved using her little hands to make it happen.
That is not to say change is damaging. Change is natural and life is fluid. To best support your child for the onslaught of uncertainties in life, you can try to ensure that her earliest days have as much order and routine as possible. This will help your child to feel safe enough to explore, challenge and overcome. It is much harder to appreciate life’s fluidity when you have never felt safe for long.
Children respond to change differently. Perhaps a parent is away or has switched a shift. One child might start bed-wetting. Another might respond emotionally. Yet another might eat differently. Unfortunately, some responses are more disruptive to daily life than others. And since it is not possible to keep things the same, especially say, in times of a move, a holiday or a family emergency, it is useful to keep your responses and interaction with your child consistent. Use an even tone of speech so your child hears the message and responds to that instead of responding emotionally. A sameness in you and your interaction with your child is an aspect of order which she will appreciate.