Middle Toddlerhood: Autonomy and Peer Awareness in the Context of Families and Child Care

  • Christine N. LippardEmail author
  • Karen M. La Paro


Middle toddlerhood is a period marked by the development of autonomy and resulting growth in peer awareness. This chapter discusses how development in the physical, cognitive, and language domains interacts with emotional and social development, specifically with the areas of autonomy and peer awareness. Further, the importance of responsive caregiving that supports toddlers in feeling secure as they explore the environment around them and their own capabilities is emphasized. This responsive caregiving, particularly in the context of experience expectable environments, promotes toddlers’ optimal social and emotional development. Risks to development such as toxic stress, particularly for toddlers whose families are homeless or who are first- or second-generation immigrants, are discussed. Practical strategies for helping toddlers process their emotions (e.g., name it, claim it, explain it) and for promoting positive, responsive relationships across family and child care contexts are described. Finally, this chapter concludes with examples of current tools to assess toddlers’ social and emotional development and child care experiences and environment.


Autonomy Peer awareness Responsive Expectable environment 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Iowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA

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