Sensitive Period For Order (Age 18 Months To 2 Years)

Sensitive period for order starts from birth and peaks at 18 months to 2.5 years and prolongs to age five. This is characterized by a desire for consistency and repetition. There exists a passionate love for established routines and is when a child may seem disturbed by disorder. The “terrible twos” are often exaggerated reactions to small disruptions in order that is not perceived by adults. The environment therefore must be carefully ordered with a place for everything and with carefully established ground rules.

It is also important to have external order as order in their environment where there is an appropriate place for everything as this helps the child also establish their internal order.

It is when you see a child may give out a tantrum since things are out of routine and it affects their sense of order. They may at this time insist on the same routine, and at times parents don’t really have time to respect this in the busy lives. One may even see a child put things in back into place if they are out of order if given the chance.

It is important to be aware of this as one of the child’s needs to be fulfilled. Having ordered rules helps a child in this sensitive period.


Sensitive Period for Order (age 18 months to 2 years)
Sensitive Period for Language (birth to 6 years)
Sensitive Period for Movement (birth to 4 years)
Sensitive Period for Refinement of the Senses (birth to 5 years)
Sensitive Period for Weaning (5 to 6 months)
Sensitive Period for Numbers (4 to 5.5 years)
Sensitive Period for Manners and Courtesies (2 to 6 years)

7 Comments on Sensitive Period For Order (Age 18 Months To 2 Years)

  1. I am not sure that I understood the sensitive period of order properly. what I understood is this period is where a Child orders himself by what he sees the adult and other children doing. after the meal the child takes his plate back to the kitchen , he washes his hands and dry them with a towel, using of potty as he is being taught, keeping his toys back to the right place after playing. he also dress and undressing himself. keeping his shoes back to the right place after entering in the house.

  2. Hi!

    Sad to say it is normal. She is about to go into her toddler years and that is to be expected. How to get her to share? That will definitely take time and a lot of patience and explaining on your part. A good thing to do is to be good role model and explaining why things are being done, keep it positive and recognise the specific act that she does when she decides to share as a reinforcement of good behaviour.

  3. thanx a lot! Great site! My niece has become very possessive of her stuff or her mum’s and dad’s.Is she going through a sensitive period for order? Shes 17 months.She wont let anyone play with HER toys,and NO-ONE can carry HER mum’s/dad’s stuff. E.g.If her granny carries her mum’s bag-Its a problem.

    Would appreciate any feedback/suggestions on how to get her to share and not be so possessive.Is this normal and is it a problem?


  4. The lessons in order to teach order at this age is not learned through
    a formal lesson. It is in the way of life or by example that the
    child can learn order. It can be in the way that your daily routine is
    accomplished. The way their room or your house is set up. Order can be
    shown in the way a shelf is arranged with the child’s toys.

    How to set the table the order it is always done. for us it does not
    which goes 1st for children it does. Keep all the things always a
    constant place. Where the books are, where to sleep, where to bath,
    where to play and where his toys are kept. In a Montessori classroom
    this si ingrained in all the activities that have been set up. There
    is a strict order of ways to do things that help the child understand
    order. For example with washing hands, always wet the hands first,
    soap and lather until the bubbles come and then rinse and do not
    forget to dry the hands. it is in that simple activity that all adults
    know but need to be conscious to make it consistent and ordered when
    around your children. When setting up their things for brushing their
    teeth in a tray always order things in a tray in order of use from
    left to right. Like have the toothbrush in the leftmost, the
    toothpaste then the glass for the water.

    In their room make sure the books are all in one area all the time,
    and the similar toys together in a shelf.

    An ordered environment helps the child internalise this sense of
    order. It is in these small things we can do around their environment
    that helps these children in this age group learn about order.

    Hope this gives you a better understanding and an idea of what things
    you can do around your home.

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