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20 months to 24 months

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Updated: 4/18/2007 7:11 am
Your toddler may assert independence frequently between twenty and twenty-four months of age, and will probably demonstrate strong expressions of opinion frequently. Your child is now fully discovering a separate identity. Before this stage, many toddlers don't realize obedience is a matter of choice. As they begin to understand their options, you and your caregiver may introduce the idea of consequences for misbehavior. For instance, the caregiver may verbally correct a child this age for hitting another child with a toy, then remove the toy from his or her hands. Brief periods of time-out, or separation from group activities is also effective. Most states require childcare providers to be educated in redirecting a child's behavior, so caregivers usually understand that a child's short attention span necessitates brief correction. Many family and daycare centers use this age to assist parents with toilet training, but will do so according to each child's individual development. Often, caregivers serve finger foods to this age group for meals because children enjoy the independence of feeding themselves. Learning this skill may be a messy process, but it helps prepare children for meals featuring flatware.

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