Crisis of one year: why it appears and how to survive it

Psychologists often talk about the crisis of the 1st year because it’s the first serious transition stage in the life of a child. Our grandparents have not even come across this notion but the current generation of parents are more aware of difficulties that await them soon after the childbirth.

Is it possible to avoid it and how to survive it? Read the following.


What is "children's crisis"

There is a strong belief that the children’s crisis is a difficult stage, which is characterized by frequent whims and child’s mood swings.

Of course, most often we are witnessing such a manifestation of the crisis. But if you think about the reasons, it becomes obvious that the impetus for the changes was the psychological maturation of the child.

There’s nothing wrong with that. The child is growing, daily absorbs a large amount of new information and it’s not surprising that accumulating a new knowledge, his or her perception of the world changes. And most importantly, the perception of himself or herself in this world is changing.

The most striking transition periods, according to psychologists, are at the age of 1, 3, 7 and 13-14 years (the last of them was named “puberty”).


When it happens and how long it lasts

But let’s go back to the crisis of the first year. This stage has very fuzzy time limits and lasts individually for every child.

On average, it happens in the period from 8 months to 1.5 years and ends gradually.

Psychologists also note that because of the different stage of development, boys’ crisis can last longer than the girls’ one. It’s at this age that the child learns the two most important skills which later change his or her whole life – walking and speaking.

You must agree, they are quite large-scale skills for such kids. And if up to this moment there was a small defenseless baby in front of us, now it’s a grown up child who is becoming look like the rest of the family. And, feeling this similarity, the child begins to master new skills eagerly, checking their limits.


What is the crisis

Here we can see a subtle moment that most often leads to disobedience or even aggression on the part of the child.

The reasons for that are simple. The child, having mastered new skills, begins to consider himself or herself old enough to perform the same actions as his or her members of the family. Parents, most often, continue to see a small defenseless baby in front of them for a long time, who can now face many dangers in the form of sharp corners, sockets, wires and small parts.

The child wants to study such tempting surrounding objects, parents instinctively try to protect the child from dangers. This clash of interests, lack of understanding why an adult can and he or she can’t causes those whims which we spoke about above.


Don't abuse the word " cannot"

To prevent it from losing its importance, say it only if there are truly dangerous objects or situations. In other cases, if a child’s attention to any object is still undesirable, try to distract him or her.

This is very easy to do because the peculiarity of this age is that the child is not yet able to be focused on several objects (or actions) at the same time. And if he or she is interested in something new, the child quickly distracts the attention from previous object.

Crisis of one year


Encourage curiosity, praise and quench his or her thirst for knowledge

It’s important to remember that the stage when a child asks us to quench his or her thirst for new knowledge is not long. However, if we show the child that curiosity is good, then in the future, while studying at school, it will greatly facilitate the life of both parents and the child himself or herself.


Show patience when we can't understand the child's speech

At this age, the child’s vocabulary is still very poor. Moreover, a child can use one word to describe a lot of different items.

This is due to the associations which are clear only to the child.

For example, the kid remembered that the duck says “quack-quack” but seeing, one day, a picture with a duck, begins to say “quack-quack” describing all the pictures. And then, having found out that pictures can be not only in books but also on t-shirts, for example, begins to say “quack-quack” denoting all the t-shirts with images. Thus, hearing one of these polysemous words, it’s very difficult to understand what the child has in mind at the moment.

Crisis of one year

And when the child is desperate because of the fact that his or her speech is not understood, don’t be angry with him or her, try to build a dialogue with your child gently.


Listen to your child but don't indulge him or her in everything

The child can quickly learn that ” pushing ” the parents harder, he or she can achieve everthing.

This is an important period when the child learns how to behave with other people.

And it’s important to teach him or her to negotiate, to find the right solutions and not only to demand or, on the contrary, blindly indulge other people’s desires.


Provide a diverse educational environment

This is a period when the child wants a speedy acquaintance with the world. The variety of goods in children’s shops is striking: it’s finger paints and various sorters and educational books with little windows.

However, no less delight will cause the games with pots and spoons, rustling paper, jars’ covers and many other items that can be found in every house.



The main feature of this age is a constant thirst for knowledge and discoveries. Toddler absorbs any new information, learns to form his or her opinion about certain things, learns about the diversity of life. And we,parents, have got an important role – to be his guide into adulthood. Teach him or her to see opportunities not just limitations.

Children’s psychological crisis indicates that a child has already received a certain” baggage ” of knowledge about the world, now it’s necessary to understand it, to understand how to live.

And the support of a wise adult who understands the importance of this period is the most important thing which a child can get.

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