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There are similarities and differences in the growth and developmental patterns of two toddlers of different ages using Gordon’s functional health patterns. Some patterns reveal that which is shared by two toddlers who are one year and three years of age respectively. In terms of health perception, toddlers become familiar with the language of sickness, but look to parents for care, relief and a return to health. In terms of nutrition, toddlers also look to parents for nourishment, leaving parents to establish regular eating habits for their children. In terms of cognition, toddlers are in the developmental stage. In terms of sleep, toddlers have similar patterns. In terms of self-perception, toddlers are also in the developmental stage. In terms of role, toddlers need ongoing contact with parents, and should not be apart from parents for more than three days. In terms of coping, toddlers experience a combination of inherent and learned behaviors. In terms of value, toddlers learn from experience in decision making, based on the consequences (Khatiban et al., 2019). Other patterns reveal that which is different for toddlers aged one year and those aged three years. In terms of elimination, between one and two years of age, toddlers often continue to use diapers. However, between two and three years of age, toddlers often begin to receive bathroom training from their parents. In terms of activity, one-year-olds are often learning to stand and walk, whereas three-year-olds are already experienced, and tend to be (at least) somewhat coordinated in standing up, walking, running, jumping and sitting down (Khatiban et al., 2019).   

Applying the components of Gordon’s functional health patterns as they relate to toddlers are beneficial in the provision of pediatric care. During the toddler years, physical growth and motor development slow down. However, considerable changes occur that are emotional, intellectual and social in nature. Health perception is to encourage regular movement and physical activity. Nutrition is to enhance metabolic function while providing a daily healthy, balanced diet. Elimination is to entail moving from diaper use to independent bathroom use. Activity is to include the development of a wide array of physical skills. Cognitive development is ongoing and should be encouraged. Sleep is to be regimented in forming regular sleep times and patterns. Self-perception may be improved through the application of the other components of health patterns, and through the related positive body image that will result. Role is important in facilitating the activities related to the various roles involved in a given, toddler situation. Coping may entail the adoption of the prevention of aggressive, toddler behaviors, and the management of separation anxiety that may be experienced by toddlers. Value may be developed as the toddler grows (American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP], 2023). It is important to note that any noted shortcomings related to health patterns should be addressed as soon as possible.

Jacqueline Figueroa


AAP. (2023). Toddler. https://www.healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/default.aspx

Khatiban, M., Tohidi, S., & Shahdoust, M. (2019). The effects of applying an assessment form based on the health functional patterns on nursing student’s attitude and skills in developing the nursing process. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 6(2019), 329-333.