Toddler growth and developmental stages need regular annual checkups. Baby and young child development can be tracked by looking for specific skills and behaviors known as developmental milestones.
There are four general categories of developmental milestones.
- Phenomenon (movement and the use of large and small muscle groups; gross motor and fine motor skills, respectively)
- Social and emotional development (the way a youngster recognizes and responds to their own and other people’s emotions)
- A child’s cognitive (capacity to master new abilities and comprehend more complex concepts) development
- Input and Output (language acquisition, verbal skills, and the ability to understand language)
Young children develop at their individual rate, and a spectrum of development is deemed “normal.” On the other hand, your pediatrician expects most children to grow within a given range of ages and stages.
If you’re concerned about your child’s growth, it’s best to consult your child’s doctor rather than wait until they reach a certain age.
Before starting school, early intervention programs like physical, speech, or other treatments can help a kid obtain important skills and “catch up” with his peers if developmental deficiencies are discovered.
Here are a few examples of developmental milestones parents can look forward to as their children progress through the toddler years.
12 months old
Social and Emotional Development: At the age, your child will begin to show more evidence of social and emotional awareness. Your child may become “clingy” to specific people, such as you and your spouse, and be scared or shy around strangers. Playing simple games like patty cake or peek-a-boo with your toddler should also be a source of joy for them.
Language Development: While your toddler may still be unable to speak more than a few words—including “mama” and “dada,” for example—they should be able to understand significantly more and follow simple commands.
Cognitive Development: This is a natural stage of development for a toddler’s cognitive development to be a bit naughty. Throwing and slamming toys is a common technique for toddlers to learn how things work. Moms and Dads may also realize that hiding an item from their toddlers no longer works because they’re now aware of the item’s presence.
Movement and Physical Development: Some toddlers can walk by 12 months, but this is not the case for everybody, so don’t worry if your child hasn’t yet. In general, most infants and toddlers can sit up, push themselves to a standing position, and begin to cruise before their first birthday (walking with the help of furniture to keep their balance).
18 months old
Social and Emotional Development: Mommy and Daddy are likely still toddlers’ favorites, and your youngster will probably exhibit a lot of affection toward the people who care for them. Your child will continue to stammer as a result. At this age, “stranger danger” is perfectly normal and reasonable. Finally, don’t be surprised if your child can identify things they want or are interested in.
Language and Communication Development: By the time your child is 18 months old, they should be able to say at least a dozen words or more. As a result, by the age of one and a half, your child may be able to speak in two-word phrases. Easy instructions like “pick up the crayons” should be simple enough for your child to understand.
Cognitive Development: At one and a half, your toddler will begin to engage in imaginative play that includes make-believe and pretend. Your child may pretend to feed a baby doll, for example. As a result, they’ll strive to imitate their parents while they undertake household chores like sweeping.
Movement and Physical Development:18-month-old toddlers are always on the go and developing their physical abilities. You can expect your child to be able to walk and sprint downstairs on their own by now. They’ll be able to assist themselves get dressed, too. By the time they reach the age of 18 months, infants will be able to feed and drink on their own from a standard cup (with the occasional spill).
2 years old
Social and Emotional Development: Your toddler’s social and emotional development is progressing at a rapid pace. Even if they don’t play with other children, your child will likely be delighted when other children—regardless of age—are there. For most children, the age of two is the beginning of their first temper tantrums as they start to show their frustration, upset, exhaustion, or hunger.
Language and Communication Development: Your 2-year-language old’s communication skills are maturing. They can now speak in sentences of up to four words. The fact that they know up to 50 words and are probably learning new ones every day doesn’t come as a surprise. Having a youngster who repeats everything you say out of context is a surefire way to get into trouble.
Cognitive Development: Your toddler’s play is becoming more imaginative, and you may notice them inventing stories or games to play with each other. Sorting items by shape and color and more complex instructions like “Pick up your toys and put them in the basket” are also becoming more commonplace.
Movement and Physical Development: Your two-year-old’s motor abilities are displayed daily as they run, climbs, throws, and kicks. Your youngster should also be able to grasp a pencil or crayon and duplicate lines and circles.
3 years old
Social and Emotional Development: It is common for toddlers under the age of two years to engage in what is known as “parallel play,” which implies that they are playing near each other but not actively engaging in conversation with each other. At the age of three, everything changes. Even more importantly, your child is now forming their friendships with other children (you’ll likely hear about them at school or daycare) and learning how to behave in a socially acceptable manner.
Language and Communication Development: By now, you’ve lost track of the number of words your toddler uses—and for a good reason—since their vocabulary is likely to reach in the hundreds at this time, and they enjoy engaging in conversations. Your toddler is also capable of understanding and following more complex directions with three or more stages (if they feel like being cooperative) and beginning to understand more complicated linguistic concepts like inside, on, below, etc.
Cognitive Development: When a kid reaches the age of three, their cognitive development increases dramatically. They can complete more complex puzzles, figure out how to make toys work on their own, and engage in imaginative play and block construction. At this age, you’ll still encounter tantrums, which are generally sparked by a toddler’s inability to get their way.
Movement and Physical Development: Regarding physical development, your child had gone a long way when they first began to “toddle” around on their hands and knees. At this point in your child’s life, they’re running longer distances, climbing, and even pedaling a bike if they’re old enough. For the moment, your child can sketch pictures that are more or less nothing more than scribbles, but the story behind them will likely be clear enough for him to tell you.