Session note Session notes

Session notes for Learning how things work Stages: 19 to 24 months


Solving problems and learning how things work is all part of the growing independence toddlers develop at this stage. Ask the parents:

  • What have you noticed lately about your toddler’s problem-solving skills?

Sometimes if parents offer help when they see their toddler struggling with something, the child will refuse quite insistently. They may become even more frustrated if parents persist in offering to help. The phrase ‘Me do it’ may become a common reply to offers of help. Ask:

  • How does your child react to you trying to help them?
  • How do you respond to that?
  • Why do you think that is?

With their ever-increasing fine motor skills and hand–eye co-ordination, toddlers are more able to use utensils efficiently. They’ll be using spoons, forks, and drawing instruments independently. If they access technology, they may surprise dad and mum at how skilled they are at swiping iPads, and tapping cell phones or computer keyboards. Ask:

  • How has your child been using their hands and fingers lately?
  • What has surprised you about their fine motor skills?
  • What access do they have to technology in your home?
  • How do you feel about that?

Whānau may want to review safety around the home as these clever hands and fingers will also be trying to open and close cupboards, drawers and gates, and wanting to take lids off containers and bottles to see what’s inside. Parents need to understand that getting angry with their toddler for their natural curiosity is unfair. Ask:

  • Have they got themselves into unsafe situations through their clever hands and fingers?
  • How did you respond?
  • What did you do to try and stop it happening again?

Access to medications, especially bottles without childproof lids, poses a real risk. Colourful pills that may look like lollies need careful storage. Ask:

  • What medication do you have in your home?
  • What system do you have for keeping it safely stored?

Another skill mum and dad might be seeing is how their toddler notices details so much more and can recall them.

They may get excited when they arrive at, or go past, familiar places, maybe the homes of friends or family, their ECE centre or even the golden arches of McDonald’s. Ask:

  • What has your toddler done to show you they remember details of things they’ve seen before?

This ability to identify signs and symbols is the beginning of reading and writing skills, and can be celebrated by the whānau.

How does this relate to the SKIP resources?

Baby Wall Frieze – Homai ngā mea hei tākaro māku - give me things to play with

Whenever I'm playing, I'm learning.

Six things children need - Te hanga ao tōtika, ao haumaru - structured and secure world

We try and make our kāinga a 'yes home' by moving precious or unsafe things out of reach.

Email this resource Email