Toddler Observation Interview


After spending 60 minutes observing a toddler room in Ciudad Child Care Centre in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico the following observations were made on the children.

Individual differences

Some children were afraid to communicate with others while others did communicate freely. Most boys were reserved whereas girls communicated more easily and frequently. However, boys were more aggressive when it came to playing ball, riding tricycles, and climbing sandboxes. The girls enjoyed swinging and playing ball.

Types of plays observed

Sensory motor plays

Some 2-3 year old kids could compete in running, other could be seen kicking and throwing the ball overhead. Majority seemed excited to pedal tricycles, swinging and climbing sandboxes, yet other were hopping and jumping around the play ground. Some of them crowded around a music system and danced as some tried to sing along. However, a few of them seemed to be withdrawn and uninterested with everything.

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Symbolic plays

Some children were seen with bottle tops and plastic containers giving their friends urging them to take as milk along with blocks of wood to eat as bread. The recipients took and acted as though they were really eating. There was this group of children where one of them assumed a doctor's role and was holding a piece of stick which he used as the syringe. The other kids acted as patients and would come one by one and be injected by the “doctor.” Another group took there toy cars to a “garage” where there was a group of mechanics.

Initiative plays

These involved children using their imaginative abilities and skills to come up with something creative. Some children were able to construct a vehicle by arranging boxes on top of others using varied box sizes. Others could be seen preoccupied with the building of block towers.

The “mine” phenomenon among toddlers

Most toddlers appeared to be very self-centered and displayed a strong possessiveness with objects and toys, claiming them to be theirs. They could be heard crying, “mine”, “my car”, “my baby”, etc” every time he/she saw other kids with their toys or toys which were identical to theirs. At times they would utter a bitter “no” to others if their friends requested to use their toys. On the other hand some of the children who were using toys belonging to others would respond with the same cry and did everything to ensure that they retained the toys to themselves. Majority of children tended to be more violent and some even bit the owners of the toys, pinched them or even poked their nose or eyes. In case the owners of toys were overcome, they would cry out for help from the caregiver. The caregiver seemed to be aware of every conflict and in this case she took all the toys away and she introduced some songs of which the children sang and danced together. In the processes the animosity which had built among the kids over the toys subsided.

However, some children showed sympathy and were willing to let others using their toys as long as those lend to would return after some time or whenever the owner wanted.

Empathy and Prosocial behavior

Some children were seen taking side with those who seemed rejected or withdrawn and would offer to play with them or even share with them their toys and other objects. They would offer protection to their weaker friends. There was this incident when a 1½ year old was snatched her toy by an aggressive 2½ year boy. Another 3 year boy went straight to the other boy and grabbed the toy from him and gave it back to the little girl. This second boy and the little girl stayed together for the rest of the session playing together.


There are those children who tried to exercise self-control whereas others were totally unable.

Majority exercised restraint for a few seconds when their toys or objects were handed over to other to use. However much the caregiver would persuade them to let others use their toys they found it not easy to take back their toys/objects. The most aggressive toddlers would not accept any form of persuasion and would take what belongs to them by force.

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Most breakdown in the control of impulse seemed to be aggravated by the feeling of possessiveness and selfishness.


The interview with the parents of older toddlers (aged between 2 and 3), on the reflection of the differences between their child as an infant and a toddler involved asking them the following questions to which they responded accordingly as indicated below:

In general, how is he/she different at age 2, compared with age 69 months?

Responses: the child had increased in weight and height, he/she can walk, they run, kick and throw a ball, he/she can speak, can ride a tricycle, construct block towers, bully others, there is decreased appetite, etc.

How has your relationship with him/her changed during the past 1-1 ½ years?

Response: He/she wants to be independent at times but would still need parental care just as a baby. He/she seems very excited being in the company of the age-mates. He/she is very close to the mother than the father and would easily detect the absence of the mother. He/she is somehow obedient to what the parent says but at times reacts in defiance.

What do you recall about him/her during the 3-4 months immediately after he/she learned to walk?

Response: He/she would occasionally pick up objects, carry them or throw them away and then run after them and move around pulling a toy behind him/her. He/she is all over the house, running and jumping in places, climbing up and down the furniture, bed and stairs.

How has his/her ability to communicate changed? How has her new ability to understand and use words changed your relationship?

Response: He/she is able to communicate most of the things and easily follows instruction. It is very easier if the child is sick where he/she is feeling pain, he/she can say when he/she hungry or can express his demands more easily. The child would try singing to the parent or would request the parent to sing him/her a song.

Do you find it easier or harder (or perhaps some of each) to parent a toddler, compared with an infant?

Response: It a bit easier to parent a toddler especially the one who can communicate in word other than an infant who communicate through crying. Communicating in words is easier to comprehend as contrasted to a cry which could imply anything ranging from hunger, pain, change of diaper, or sickness.


Ariganjoye, R. & Daigneault, R. (2008). Early Childhood Development. Retrieved April 2008, from Your Totalhealth-A service of NBC and iVillage.

Web site:

Rose, D. A. D & Kovach, B. A. (1998). Interaction that Promote Socialization. Retrieved April 2008, from Childhood Education..