Babies and toddlers – with or without diabetes

There are a number of behaviours and stages that any child goes through regardless of whether or not they have diabetes. It is important as a parent to understand these behaviours as well as how they may impact on your child’s diabetes.

Ages 0-2 years

At this age your child is completely dependent on you for all care. For the first six months your child likes a regular routine built around feeding and sleeping.

Your child’s senses are very important – touching, smelling and feeling.

Your child’s physical self is all important at this stage, with self-comfort being the main focus. For example, a wet or dirty nappy will produce tears, as does being left alone when company would be more preferable.

From about 2 to 4 months of age, smiles and gurgles will reward you for your efforts with sounds and movement providing increasing pleasure.

From 6 to 10 months of age your child responds to different facial gestures, speech and interactive behaviour.

From 9 to 12 months of age your child develops more control around anger and dissatisfaction, beginning to copy behaviour and emotions.

Actions become deliberate rather than reflex. For example, a cry from your child gets you to run. Socialising has begun.

Ages 2-4 years

Your child wants to be in control, wants to “do”, to be in charge and they start to achieve tasks. They learn by repetition, gradually becoming more competent.

Their imagination grows and daydreams, the use of magic and pretend-play are common in their day-to-day life.

They may have an imaginary ‘friend’ who is very real to them and with whom they have long conversations! Language skills start developing and vocabulary grows.

Your child is curious about the world and may constantly ask “Why? Why?”

They start to develop a range of gestures to express themselves. Your child will be very intuitive and will seem to be able to ‘read’ you like a book.

This is the age when they start testing the waters, so they may throw (and recover from) tantrums frequently and easily.

At this age children tend to think in ‘black and white’, right or wrong, good or bad. As their parent or carer, you are the main attachment in their lives. They are still quite self-centred, happily playing with a toy alone, then gradually learning to share toys.

If a brother or sister join the family they will have to gradually learn to share the love of their parents.

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