What is a toddler's development?

A toddler's development involves several milestones.
A toddler's development involves several milestones.

Toddler’s development includes the physical, emotional, behavioral and mental growth of children from ages one to three years old. The various factors that influence the toddler’s development include

  • Culture
  • Environment
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Genetics

Children who suffer from malnutrition or who lack social stimuli or access to proper health care may develop more gradually than children born in better social conditions.

A toddler’s development during the first year includes

  • Communication and language skills
    • Says up to 10 to 20 words
    • Grasps one-step commands
    • Can point to some body parts
  • Movement and physical development
    • Walks alone
    • Pulls toys behind when walking
    • Throws a ball
    • Stands on tiptoes
    • Begins to run
    • Scribbles when given a crayon
    • Becomes more mobile
    • Takes off some clothes
    • Climbs up the stairs when handheld
    • Increasing social and emotional development
    • Asserts themselves by crying and throwing tantrums
    • Engages in pretend play
    • Enthusiastic about other children’s company
    • Shows fondness
  • Cognitive skills (thinking and learning)
    • Becomes aware of themselves and surroundings
    • Recognizes themselves in a mirror or picture
    • Mimics behavior of others, especially adults or older children
    • Identifies the names of familiar people and objects
    • Sorts by shape and color
    • Eagerness to explore new objects

A toddler’s development during the second year includes

  • Communication and language skills
    • Says more than 50 words
    • Says at least two-word sentences
    • Strangers can understand half of the sentences said
    • Uses some actual words instead of baby talk
  • Movement and physical development
    • Runs well
    • Kicks a ball
    • Walks down the stairs
    • Draws lines and circular scribbles
    • Starts self-feeding
  • Social and emotional development
    • Plays enthusiastically with other children
    • Fears loud sounds, specific animals, etc.
    • Might inform you when their diaper is soiled
  • Cognitive skills
    • Follows a two-step command
    • Names many body parts
    • Matches shapes
    • Points out pictures in books
    • Starts to engage in pretend play such as feeding a doll

When should I be worried about a toddler’s development?

Some signs could signal a developmental delay. Consult your child’s pediatrician if you find that your child

  • Makes limited eye contact
  • Doesn’t run or always walks on tippy toes
  • Doesn’t speak or makes vowel sounds but no consonant sounds or words
  • Doesn’t express emotions in response to others or surroundings
  • Doesn’t engage in pretend play
  • Has lost skills
  • Shows weakness on one side of the body

What parenting tips can help raise a toddler?

During the first year, these parenting tips may be helpful.

  • Talk to your child to develop their language.
  • Read to your toddler daily.
  • Encourage the child to explore new things.
  • Ask the child to find an object by hiding it.
  • Respond to wanted behaviors more than you punish the unwanted ones.
  • Encourage the child’s curiosity and ability to recognize common objects.
  • Take your child on field trips regularly.
  • Play matching games with toddlers.

During the second year, these parenting tips can be helpful.

  • Persuade the child to tell you their name and age.
  • Teach your child songs or small rhymes.
  • Set up a special time for reading books.
  • Promote your child to take part in pretend play.
  • Give the child attention and praise when they follow instructions and show positive behavior.
  • Limit attention toward their tantrums.

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Medically Reviewed on 10/21/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference

CDC


KidsHealth.org