A lot happens during the first half of your baby’s second year of life. You may have already received your baby’s first kisses and hugs or noticed your (now) toddler’s attempts to speak in full phrases. Another developmental accomplishment is also in the making: your little two-way communicator is figuring out how to solve problems.

What started with playing peekaboo and making funny faces at each other, triggering mutual giggles, is now changing to your toddler figuring out how to make a silly expression for the sole purpose of getting your attention when he or she wants to playfully interact with you.

Such figuring out how to get your attention when he or she is in the mood for some fun is just one of the areas of problem solving you might notice. Your child is also likely to be figuring out how to get what he or she wants. For example, your daughter or son may make sounds that call for you to come to the play area, where she or he then points a finger at a toy that is out of reach.

Your budding problem solver is working through and accomplishing many kinds of emotional and intellectual lessons during this stage of development. Your child is communicating in a more complex fashion and realizing that things fit together in patterns. In the process, your child is becoming aware that he or she has his or her own individual needs, interests, and behaviors. A sense of self is starting to form.

Future learning will depend on your child’s ability to look at a problem, break it into manageable parts, and persevere until a solution is found. Your toddler is learning how to do this already. Building this ability along with your child’s confidence will engender a child who feels challenged rather than frustrated when faced with new situations.

More to consider: Seeking answers . . .

Children, like all of us, learn by posing questions and seeking the answers. As parents, we can notice the amazing ways our children’s minds are working, even when their learning is a bit messy or inconvenient:


  • “What would happen to the milk if I pour it out of my cup?”
  • “What happens to things that go down this drain?”
  • “Would mom’s car keys fit in my shoes?”