Your Child's Brain in Week 97
You've likely seen your child point out a missing button on a jacket, mismatched shoes on a doll, or a crack in a dish. Concerned, she may look up at you and say "boo-boo," or point to the flaw while saying "uh-oh." During play time, you may hear her tell a doll to pee on the potty or pick up toys, and you may watch her wipe the doll's nose with a tissue.
Indeed, since she turned 19 months or so your toddler has been aware that Mom and Dad have standards they want her to aspire to, and she may work on them herself or through play with dolls, figures, and stuffed animals.
What the Research Shows
In a longitudinal study, researchers followed children from 13 to 22 months, checking in with them monthly. Each time, the toddlers were given 10 flawed and 10 unflawed toys to play with for 20 minutes. (An observer behind a one-way screen narrated the child's behavior into a recorder.)
After every play session, a researcher presented the child with each of the flawed toys to see if doing so would provoke any additional reaction. The results? Not a single 14-month-old gave the flawed toys any particular attention, while more than half of the 19-month-olds showed signs of concern with one or more of the flawed toys.