Component 2: Sense of Self

Learning Goal 2.b: Children develop the confidence to complete an action successfully or independently.

By 9 months, most children:

  • Demonstrate interest in objects or people
  • Accept new toys or objects with interest
  • Reach for objects of interest
  • Focus on objects and people of interest for longer periods of time

By 18 months, most children:

  • Show pleasure at their own actions
  • Show attachment to or preference for specific toys
  • Ask for similar activities to be repeated over and over
  • Attempt to perform self-care activities independently of adult help
  • Recognize their ability to influence their surroundings (e.g., standing on a table or feeding chair to indicate hunger to an adult)

By 24 months, most children:

  • Alternate between doing things independently and wanting help or comfort
  • Repeat activities and words and songs over and over
  • Participate in solitary pretend play (e.g., wearing hats, talking on a phone)
  • Help with simple tasks (e.g., picking up toys)

By 36 months, most children:

  • Demonstrate joy in their own accomplishments (e.g., throwing away a napkin, flushing a toilet)
  • Initiate new activities and explore new materials
  • Demonstrate interest and pride in handling personal care routines (e.g., removing coat) with minimal assistance

By 48 months, most children:

  • Choose materials and activities
  • Participate in new experiences with confidence and independence (e.g., selecting more challenging puzzles)

By 60 months, most children:

  • Resist help and demonstrate a sense of competence (e.g., insisting on dressing themselves, pouring their own juice, etc.)
  • Stay with a task until it is completed
  • Move between independence and dependence in a way that meets their needs for both and that is appropriate for the circumstances