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Home » Age-by-Age Insights »

Babies & Toddlers: Ages 0-2

Baby (thinking): It's my body. GO AWAY! | (to doctor): NO!

Young Children Do Remember the Doctor

What Kids Experience

Babies and toddlers spend a lot of time learning about their bodies. Gradually, they become able to separate from their mothers and to develop a distinction between themselves and the outer world. They truly live in the moment and don't tolerate or understand pain.

Babies and the youngest toddlers will generally be flexible about going to the doctor, as long as they are handled gently. They can't understand what a doctor does, but they can respond to patterns. They will expect both positive and negative experiences — getting a hug or getting a throat swabbed — to repeat themselves. Even young babies will respond to the memory of a past visit to the doctor. They will not remember injections in the same conscious way an older child can, but will have a body memory of what happened and may be afraid.

By 18 months, children consciously remember what a trip to the doctor means (usually a shot). They may also object to having their physical space violated. By age 2, they often don't want anyone interfering with their bodies, unless invited. Therefore, examinations may upset them.

Babies & Toddlers - How You Communicate

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