Inhibition is that little voice that reminds us we might need to forego what we want right now in the interest of our long-range or larger goals. The brains of babies and young children have yet to develop this little voice of inhibition, which means they can and do act impulsively.

Their lack of inhibition is actually an advantage. The job of infants and youngsters involves exploring all possibilities. This means they are exploring not only the real world we live in but also the possible world. Babies and young children want to explore more than what might be effective and useful; they want to explore everything. Pretend play is one example of children being uninhibited.

Adults can also look at possibilities. The difference is that when adults look for possibilities, they do so with a purpose in mind. Typically, adults look at possibilities within a time frame and with a certain amount of dedication and discipline. Adult fiction writers, for example, combine the cognitive and imaginative freedom of a child with the necessary time commitment, discipline, and dedication of an adult.

So when your uninhibited and imaginative three-year-old has a hard time staying on track to get dressed in the morning, remember that she is simply exercising her mind and displaying some of the profound capacities of young human nature.