Tips for Tots: How Tots See Themselves

By Anne A. McGrady

The most important thing in a Tot’s personality development is the Tot’s self-concept how each child feels about himself or herself. Your Tot’s feelings about themselves begin the day Tot is born.

During their early years as infants, toddlers and preschoolers, your Tot begins to build their basic outlooks on life from their point of view. You can help your Tot grow up feeling good about themselves by providing a pleasant home environment.

Some Tots feel “I am a happy boy or I am a happy girl.” People like me. I can do a lot of things. I like to try new things and most of the time I can do them well. These children have developed a positive self-concept, and have a good start towards being happy, successful people in their lives.

Your infant will respond to tender loving care, talking, smiling, cuddling, regular feeding times and bathing and diapering. This helps your baby to develop trust in others. The world is a good place. I can count on people to be good.

You can encourage your toddler for her unsuccessful efforts at doing things on her own – when she tries to dress or feed herself, for example. She will most likely try a little harder the next time. When you tell her she has done a good job working a puzzle, stacking books, or naming objects in a picture book, you are giving her the opportunity to build her self-concept.

Try to accept the preschooler’s individual way of living—her/his whole personality – the way she/he eats, sleeps and plays, even her/his temper fits and moods. It will be easier for you to accept her/his individual ways as she/he grows older. You can learn to respect and understand her/his feelings by putting yourself in her/his place, seeing with her/his eyes and hearing with her/his ears. Tot for example is trying to become a person in her/his own right – to establish her/his own identity.

When your preschooler sees herself/himself like this: “I am not very good. People don’t like me. I won’t succeed anyway.”

Such a child is also likely to have difficulty learning when they start school.  You can be a role model for your Tots to help them learn how to share with other members of the family and friends. They will see that taking turns during playtime will be more fun than fighting about who is next.

Have Fun!



• If You Want To See A Whale, by Julie Fogliano, 2013, Roaring Book Press, 4-8 years (Gives advice to the reader as to what to do, and not to do, in order to successfully spot a whale.)

• Curious George Goes to the Beach, by Margaret & H A Ray , Houghton Mifflin Co., 1999, 3-6 years (Curios George goes to the beach and has fun feeding the sea gulls and then saves the day when he rescues a picnic basket and helps his friend overcome her fear of the water.)

• Froggy Builds a Tree House, by Jonathan London, Puffin Books, 2011, 4-6 years (Froggy and his friends build a tree house while avoiding help from his sister, Froglina.)