From eight to ten every Sunday morning for a month, I spent my time observing a classroom at my church that housed the one to two year olds. In the classroom I was in there were kids that had just had their first birthdays and some kids that were about to turn two. The difference between the kids who were just able to squeeze into the class from the ones that were on the verge of being able to go the "big kid" class was tremendous the majority of the time. While observing this group of toddlers I was able to see the differences in attachment, language, temperament, gender, and
Was it going to be screaming, kicking, and crying as the child was pried from their parent's arms or the exact opposite, was the toddler going to come into the room and never turn back as their parent's left them to be alone. Being an observer in an environment in which toddlers were being separated from their parents was a great place to view the differences in attachment. Attachment forming in toddlers usually peaks around fourteen to eighteen months, which was the primary age group in which I would observe on Sunday mornings (Sigelman & Rider, 2012, p. 457). I was surprised to find the most of the toddlers that were dropped off did not show signs of being seriously distressed. A few of the toddlers were more difficult to separate from their parent and cried for a while but seemed to calm down when they played with the other toddlers. For the toddlers that showed more distress seemed to be more excited to see their parents when the services were over. These toddlers would be said to have a secure attachment. Sigelman and Rider (2012) describe a secure attachment as a toddler that that "may be upset by separation but greets his mother warmly and is comforted by her presence when she returns" (p. 458).
One attention-grabbing observation I made was one of a parent that seemed to be having separation anxiety from the toddler. Separation anxiety is defined as a baby who becomes wary or fretful when separated from that parent (Sigelman & Rider, 2012, p. 457). This particular toddler saw a toy that he wanted to play with and went right to it, the parent on the other hand, stood in the door way waiting for that child to show some form of distress. The parent decided that the child, who was happy playing with the toy, would be better off with staying with them. This parent showed signs of separation anxiety that would be more common of a toddler. The attachments that are made as a young child can help shape their relationships as adults and can be a reflection of their temperament.
The way that toddlers react to events are genetically predisposed and is described as a child temperament, which are genetically based tendencies to respond in predicable ways to the events that serve as the building blocks of personality (Sigelman & Rider, 2012, p. 352). While observing and working with the toddlers I could only hope that they would be classified as having an easy temperament....