a guide to toddler developmental stages

Navigating Milestones: A Guide To Toddler Developmental Stages

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    Your toddler's quick development and increasing sense of independence are remarkable. Toddlers reach developmental milestones in the areas of language acquisition, motor skills, and play between the ages of one and three, laying the groundwork for their entry into preschool.

    Keeping up with your toddler's developmental milestones? This article has you covered. We have you covered, from learning about the most crucial milestones to encouraging words of wisdom for parents.

    When Do Babies Start To Become Toddlers?

    The age range for toddlers is one to three years old. As time goes on, you'll see your child become more self-reliant. A toddler's developmental milestones include the following:

    • Make their food.
    • Attempt to walk unassisted.
    • Use fresh words, repeat yourself, and introduce yourself by repeating their name.
    • Respond properly to the words "no" and "stop."
    • Put on clothes with minimal help.
    • Please remember to share toys and take turns playing.

    A toddler's development and learning occur independently. By the third year of life, not every toddler has done this.

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    Developmental Milestones For Toddlers Organised By Age

    12 Months Old

    Babies make incredible progress by the time they are one year old. Each of these areas of growth is anticipated to undergo significant transformations.

    Emotional And Social Development

    Social and emotional awareness indicators will start to emerge around the one-year mark in your young toddler's development.

    Your youngster may exhibit unusual behaviours, such as being overly attached to their main carers, displaying timidity or anxiety around unfamiliar people, and shedding tears whenever their carers depart. Pattycake and peek-a-boo are two basic activities that your child should start to enjoy.

    Language Development

    While your little one may still struggle to articulate more than a few words (such as "mama" and "dada"), they should be able to grasp far more complex concepts and follow basic directions.

    Cognitive Development

    It's well known that infants at this developmental stage can be naughty. Your child will discover new methods to play with objects, such as kicking or throwing them to see what happens.

    The adage "out of sight, out of mind" isn't necessarily true nowadays. The days of discreetly putting an object out of sight to make a toddler forget about it are over, alas.

    Physical And Movement Development

    You shouldn't be concerned if your child isn't walking by 12 months; some toddlers accomplish it before then, but not all. Most toddlers should be able to sit up unassisted, pull themselves up to standing, and cruise (walk with the support of furniture to maintain their balance) by the time they turn one year old.

    18 Months Old

    Your youngster may show more signs of developing new abilities around the middle of the second year.

    Emotional And Social Development

    A toddler's favourite persons are generally still their parents, and they still show a lot of love to their carers. Your toddler's clinginess will likely persist as a result.

    Feeling anxious about being alone is a typical and healthy part of growing up. Last, your baby should be able to identify and describe objects that pique their attention.

    Communication And Language Development

    It is expected that your child's vocabulary will be growing; they may have learned a dozen words by the time they are 18 months old.

    Plus, your kid may be able to string together short phrases of just two words by this age. Simple commands, such as "gather the crayons," should also be within your toddler's comprehension.

    Cognitive Development

    At about 18 months old, your child will start incorporating some make-believe and pretend into their play, though it will still be in its early stages.

    Your kid might act out feeding a baby doll, for instance. Children often attempt to mimic their parents' actions, such as sweeping, when they are around.

    Physical And Movement Development

    Toddlers, at 18 months old, are constantly moving. A toddler's independence increases when they start to walk, run, and even descend stairs. Helping themselves get dressed is also within their capabilities.

    And about the 18-month mark, babies should be drinking from a standard cup (with the inevitable accident) and attempting to self-feed with a spoon.

    2 Years Old

    Such changes will become apparent in your active toddler by the time they turn two years old.

    Emotional And Social Development

    Both your toddler's social life and his sense of independence are flourishing. Even if they don't talk to other kids while playing, your little one will likely light up in the presence of youngsters of all ages.

    Tantrums typically occur when a child is angry, exhausted, or hungry, and typically begin around the age of two. Because they are still developing their language skills, toddlers can get quite agitated when they are unable to articulate their needs or emotions.

    Communication And Language Development

    The two-year-old in your life is starting to use larger phrases, sometimes as many as four words. It's hardly shocking, given that kids can add up to fifty words to their daily vocabulary.

    It would help if you watched what you say around your toddler because they have a knack for quoting you when it's not appropriate, leading to awkward circumstances.

    Cognitive Development

    You may notice that your child is becoming increasingly imaginative in their play, coming up with their own stories or games. Second-step directions like "Pick up your blocks and put them in the basket" and sorting by colour and form are also improving.

    Physical And Movement Development

    The gross motor abilities of your two-year-old are on full display as they run, climb, throw, and kick. Also, by the time they're two years old, most toddlers can wield a pencil or crayon and make simple shapes like circles and lines.

    3 Years Old

    Your child picks up many new skills and talents as they approach preschool age.

    Emotional And Social Development

    A phenomenon known as "parallel play" characterises the activities of younger toddlers, who play near one another but do not participate in true cooperative play. When children begin to play with others, this begins to shift.

    At preschool or daycare, your child is likely to tell you all about their pals, and now they are starting to build their relationships with their peers. Together, they are figuring out what it means to be socially acceptable through activities like sharing and cooperating.

    Communication And Language Development

    By now, you've probably stopped keeping track of how many words your toddler speaks. And you'd be forgiven; toddlers happily carry on conversations and have a vocabulary of at least a couple hundred words.

    Additionally, if your toddler is cooperative, they can follow orders with three or more steps and start to grasp more complex linguistic ideas such as inside, on, below, etc.

    Cognitive Development

    Your child's play at this age is significantly more imaginative and imaginative; they can solve simple puzzles, put their toys to work independently, engage in imaginative role-playing, construct elaborate models with blocks, and much more. Tantrums, which often occur when a toddler is dissatisfied with something, will still be common at this age.

    Physical And Movement Development

    Since the beginning of the toddler stage, when your child walked clumsily, they have gone a long way. As they near the end of toddlerhood, your child is starting to do things like run farther, climb more, and maybe even ride a bike.

    How Can You Tell If A Toddler Is Having Developmental Issues?

    A developmental screening should be scheduled with the paediatrician for a child who, by the end of the toddler years, is not walking steadily, mimicking others, following basic instructions, learning new words, speaking less than six words, not pointing to familiar objects or people, not noticing when a carer goes or comes, or losing abilities they previously possessed.

    Toddler Safety Suggestions

    Advice on Keeping My 15–18-Month-Old Toddler Safe

    From fifteen to eighteen months of age, make sure your child is safe by:

    • Using gates to block off staircases can help prevent your toddler from falling.
    • For use in vehicles with rear-facing seats.
    • Pay close attention to the cabinets that are at the level of children to poison-proof your home. Do not ever put poisonous things in containers that appear to be food items. If your little one swallows anything toxic.
    • Choking hazards include foods like raw carrots, apples, grapes, almonds, hotdogs, popcorn, and hard sweets. Avoid giving your child these items. Tomatoes, mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, ripe avocado, and cooked or peeled fruit are better options. If you want to make sure your child doesn't choke on round or coin-shaped items, cut them into smaller pieces.

    Advice on Keeping My Two-Year-Old Child Safe

    If you want to make sure your 2-year-old stays safe, follow these steps:

    • Avoid burns by keeping hot tap water below 120°F.
    • Set up smoke and CO detectors on each floor and outside each bedroom. Replace the batteries every six months and test the detectors monthly.
    • Should you feel the need to keep weapons on the premises, do so in an unloaded and secure manner.
    • Put a piece of tape on each electrical cord and cover each outlet to keep them safe.
    • Do not ever leave a young child unsupervised near any body of water, including a bathtub.
    • Protect your child from the elements at all times. When they play outside or cross the street, an adult should be there to watch them.

    Advice on Keeping My Three-Year-Old Child Safe

    You can ensure the safety of your 3-year-old by:

    • Going through house fire drills.
    • Cyclists should always wear helmets.
    • Talking about staying cautious around strangers.
    • If you don't want your child to be able to reach the pot handles while you're cooking, turn them away from the front of the stove.
    • Ensure your little one knows their name, address, and phone number.

    What Abilities Should My Child Have By The Time They Enter Preschool?

    Getting your toddler enrolled in preschool is a huge deal. Carers and toddlers alike may experience a range of emotions during this occurrence; however, preparing your kid in advance can help smooth the transition. Your child should have mastered the following skills before beginning preschool:

    • Giving to other people.
    • Expressing their desires and requirements.
    • Being fully present while listening.
    • Letter and number recognition.
    • Properly addressing others with "please" and "thank you."

    Your child will only need to have some of their skills mastered before starting school; they will learn and develop in the classroom.

    Teaching your child self-control is the single most effective strategy you can employ to get them ready for school. This ensures that they can express their gratitude to you upon your departure and to their instructor if they require assistance.

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    Tips For A Happy And Successful Parenting

    Some things you can do as a parent to assist your toddler during this stage are:

    • Every day, read to your little one.
    • Have her help you find something or identify various parts of your body.
    • Shape sorting and other easy matching puzzles are great activities to do with a toddler.
    • Give him the freedom to discover and experience new things.
    • Communicating with your child and building on the words she starts to say can help her language skills grow. "Yes, you are correct—that is a bottle." is one possible response to a toddler's "baba" cry.
    • Allowing your child to assist with dressing and feeding himself is a great way to encourage his developing independence.
    • Reward desired actions more frequently than punish undesirable ones (use time-outs sparingly). Your child should always be shown or told what to do instead.
    • Taking a stroll in the park or riding the bus with your child is a great way to stimulate their sense of wonder and help them learn to identify everyday objects.


    Between the ages of one and three, toddlers reach several developmental and learning milestones on their own. Cooking, walking without help, learning new words, repeating names, responding appropriately to words, and sharing toys are all developmental milestones.

    Babies accomplish a great deal in play, motor skills, language, and emotional and social development by the time they are twelve months old. Some of the strangest things they can do include becoming too close to their caretakers, being scared of or frightened of new people, or even crying when their carers leave.

    Children's language skills are also developing, and they can understand and implement simple instructions. Being naughty and learning to play with things is part of cognitive development. Progress in motor skills includes learning to sit up without help, stand up independently, and cruise.

    Toddlers begin to exhibit more evidence of skill development about the midpoint of the second year when they are 18 months old. A child's love for their parents and ability to name and describe interesting things are signs that their emotional and social development is progressing normally.

    It is common for youngsters to pick up a dozen new words and be able to put two words together in simple sentences by the time they are 18 months old, so there is hope for their future communication and language development. Activities such as self-feeding, independent play, and imaginative play are all part of a child's cognitive development.

    By the time they reach the age of two, toddlers are starting to take more initiative in their social and emotional lives, and they may start to throw tantrums when they are unable to express themselves. Babies also progress in their language and communication development; they use more complex sentences and show more imagination in their play.

    Toddlers' physical and motor development is on the whole show as they run, climb, throw, and kick. They develop a wide range of abilities and skills as they approach the preschool years.

    Toddlers are characterised by "parallel play," in which they play near one another without actually playing together. The development of connections and an awareness of social conventions occur in tandem with their initiation into social interaction.

    Additionally, toddlers can understand and implement simple instructions and are making great strides in their language and communication development. As their brains mature, kids use their imaginations more; they build complex models, play alone, and solve problems. During this phase, tantrums frequently occur.

    When a child's muscles and coordination grow, they go from wobbly walking to sprinting, climbing, and eventually riding a bike. For children exhibiting symptoms of developmental delays, arranging a developmental screening with the child's paediatrician is recommended.

    Protect children from potential choking dangers by installing gates to block off staircases and poison-proof cupboards. Keep hard sweets, raw carrots, apples, grapes, almonds, hotdogs, popcorn, and popcorn away from children.

    Keep the temperature of hot tap water below 120°F, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and shield children under two from the elements. Wear helmets, practise house fire drills with your three-year-old, remind them to be careful around strangers, teach them to turn away from pot handles when cooking, and ensure they know their name, address, and phone number.

    Your preschooler should have a firm grasp on concepts like sharing, communicating wants and needs, paying attention while listening, recognising letters and numbers, and using the correct form of "please" and "thank you." To ensure they are prepared for school, it is essential to teach them self-control.

    Here are some things you can do to help your toddler along: read aloud to them every day, have them help you identify different parts of your body, play shape sorting and matching games, let them explore the world around them, talk to them, encourage them to be independent, reward good behaviour more often than evil, and go on walks or rides.

    Content Summary

    • The first three years of a child's life are formative in many areas, including language, motor abilities, and play.
    • An outline of critical developmental stages and parenting advice for toddlers.
    • Independent play is a hallmark of the toddler years, which lasts from about one to three years old.
    • Feeding oneself, making an effort to walk, learning essential words, and sharing are all developmental milestones for toddlers.
    • Here are the developmental milestones broken down by age: 12 months old.
    • Basic games, social awareness, and connection are all parts of emotional and social development.
    • Learning the alphabet and fundamental commands are the first language development steps.
    • Exploration and play with objects are part of a child's cognitive development.
    • Developmental milestones in physical skills include sitting up, standing up, and cruising.
    • At 18 months, a baby shows signs of developmental progress, such as increased clinginess, object recognition, and vocabulary.
    • Poems and new words are part of a child's language development.
    • Cognitive development encompasses engaging in creative play and emulating the behaviours of adults.
    • As a child grow physically, they learn to walk, run, jump, and feed themselves.
    • Growth at two years old: increasing autonomy, regression in verbal skills, and tantrums.
    • Improving language skills allows one to use more complex expressions and paraphrases.
    • Complex commands and imaginative play are components of cognitive development.
    • Physical milestones include learning to run, climb, and draw simple shapes.
    • Interactions with peers, increased vocabulary, and maturation of motor abilities are all hallmarks of the three-year-old years.
    • As a person's language skills grow, they can comprehend more complicated instructions and hold natural conversations.
    • Tears, complicated play, and problem-solving are all part of a child's cognitive growth.
    • Physical abilities include moving around more easily, riding a bike, and playing more actively.
    • Signs of developmental difficulties in toddlers and when to contact a paediatrician.
    • Prevention of choking risks, childproofing, and the use of stair gates should be prioritised for 15–18 month 18-month-olds.
    • Advice on keeping two-year-olds safe around water, detectors, and weapons.
    • Fire drills, bike helmets, and stranger danger are some of the safety tips for three-year-olds.
    • Requirements for preschool include the ability to communicate needs, connect with others, and grasp fundamental concepts.
    • Reading aloud daily, fostering a sense of independence, and using positive reinforcement are great parenting tips.
    • Independent play, reading, and puzzles are all great ways to help a toddler grow and develop.
    • Boosting a toddler's vocabulary by responding positively to his or her word tries.
    • Promoting autonomy by assisting with personal care tasks such as dressing and feeding oneself.
    • The practice of influencing good behaviour through positive reinforcement rather than punishment.
    • Participating in outdoor or public transportation-based activities to foster curiosity and learning.
    • Reading aloud to your toddler every day will help them acquire essential skills.
    • Assist your youngster in learning new things by having them look for things or name different body parts.
    • Activities such as shape sorting and basic puzzles aid cognitive growth.
    • Assisting your toddler's development through promoting exploration and exposure to new things.
    • Helping a toddler develop their language skills by praising their early word tries.
    • Encourage independence in toddlers by letting them help with tasks like dressing and eating.
    • Use praise and direction instead of punishment to encourage good conduct.
    • Outdoor exploration or public transportation can pique one's interest and encourage learning.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Playtime is crucial for a toddler's development as it fosters exploration, imagination, problem-solving, social skills, and physical development through various activities and interactions.


    Parents can participate by engaging in interactive play, reading together, encouraging language development through conversations, providing positive reinforcement, and creating a nurturing environment.


    A toddler's temperament can influence how they approach and achieve milestones. Some toddlers may be more cautious, while others might be more adventurous or independent in their exploration.


    Skipping a few milestones isn't necessarily a cause for concern as long as the overall developmental progression is steady and within the expected range. However, consistent skipping of multiple milestones may warrant attention.


    A holistic approach involves addressing physical, emotional, cognitive, and social aspects. Encourage well-rounded experiences and support in all these areas as your toddler grows.

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