Remembering Your Reactions

In the past, your frown, shaking head and other emotional cues for “don’t do that” may have stopped your toddler from doing something she shouldn’t. But her memory of your disapproval didn’t last long enough to prevent her from doing it again.


As your toddler gets a little older, he may start to control his behavior based on his memory of your responses in the past.

Researchers have determined that, with repetition, toddlers learn to recall adults’ emotions, understand their meaning, and stop touching objects that caused a negative response from the adult.

They also learn that objects associated with positive responses from an adult are OK to touch and can even apply the lesson to different, but similar, objects at a later date.

Over the next year, your child’s brain will continue to rapidly improve in its ability to code, store and retrieve memories.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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