Toddler schemas – the one where I get heckled

“They’re all different…” “every child is unique….”

Apparently there are ‘toddler personality types;’ the wallflower, zen baby, the extrovert explorer and the whirlwind, I have all four, no, not quadruplets, but Joss is a whimsical “flibertigibbert, a wilo-the-wisp, a clown” and regularly displays all of these traits and more.

She’s more wallflower probably, cautious,careful and thoughtful with the occasional flash of courage!

What really amuses me now that I am used to dealing with it is her tenacity, I have stopped seeing her as “stubborn” and “headstrong” there’s a humour under her steely determination that makes it much easier to work with, than against, I’m not saying there aren’t nights when I’ve been at work all day and could handle her whinging better but sometimes you just have to laugh at how they start to find their feet and understand their own emotions and whims. Like tonight, when I walked home with the buggy after the childminders, she leaned right out the pram asking me for more crisps and heckling ‘silly mammy’ asking me to run up the bank with all 10 kilos of her, a buggy, workbag and shopping ! – If I can catch her at the right moment she’s easy to distract, but I sometimes miss the cues!


A schema is a psychological term, it denotes a set of play behaviours when referring to children, and the BBC has a nice guide to toddler schemas you might be interested in here and there are more ideas for games depending on your child’s schema here

Joss’ schema is ‘transporting’ this means she likes to fetch and carry, to put items into bags and boxes to carry, to push items along, like her trolley and so her toy preferences are for bags, prams, cars and trailers.

It is fascinating how accurate this schema is for Joss, as these photos show, this is a really focussed enjoyable form of play for her!

What I also find amusing is how she does the same thing over and over if she’s really into her schema play, tonight she put all her animals in a little red bag and carried them about, this started with her looking at the bag, then thinking for ages, she suddenly and seemingly randomly to me said ‘sheep!’ hopped up and started filling the bag with plastic farm animals, but once she got bored she wanted bricks in there too, the bag then wouldn’t close and she got really angry, shouting for me to ‘fixit, fixit, fixit’ and when she calmed down we looked closely at the bag and talked about why it wouldn’t close, she was tired and couldn’t accept it so we moved on to distraction with a colouring book. Understanding her schema helps me understand her play and understand how I can develop her play with her too.

Have a read, what schema is your little one on? I’d love to hear more!

5 thoughts on “Toddler schemas – the one where I get heckled

  1. I had never heard of this! I think my oldest is definitely of the Trajectory category. He has to throw and kick everything in sight! I’m not sure about my littlest. He is only a year old, and right now he’s mostly about exploring the house and pulling plugs out of sockets! ;)

    • It’s really interesting, I don’t think Joss really started displaying a clear trait until she was about 16 months but she’s a transporter all the way!

  2. Interesting! My boy might still be a little too young to fit into a schema, but will check back in a few months… Would love to know what games would suit him best, it’s all a bit randomised at the moment!


  3. What an interesting read :-) our lil man seems to be three of them.. Trajectory, connection and enveloping. He loves jigsaws and trains and lego, but also loves to throw dog toys for Luna and hide n seek behind curtains/under skirts or washing is another fav.

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