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Milestones In A Toddler’s Life

This section contains information on your child’s first and second year of development, with information on each age range and what to expect to see from your child at that point in time. Also included are some great parenting links and information on when to ask questions.

Check Early Check Often – Toddler Stage

Toddlers are seldom still! Busy parents rush to keep up with the rapid developments in this period which include walking and talking. Watch this video to find out more about following your toddler’s’ development with the Ages and Stages questionnaire.

This video, produced by FAN features early childhood professionals and parents talking about their experiences with early childhood developmental screening.

Toddler 12 to 18 Months – What most toddlers do at this age:

Social and Emotional

  • May have temper tantrums
  • Shows affection to familiar people
  • Engages in simple pretend play such as feeding a doll or stuffy
  • May cling to caregivers and be wary of strangers
  • Does not yet understand sharing or turn taking
  • Explores alone but wants parent close by

Language/Communication

  • Says several single words (words may not be clear to others, but parents know what child means)
  • Says and shakes head “no”
  • Points to show someone what he wants
  • Understands more words than he can speak

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Knows what ordinary things are for; for example, telephone, shoe, spoon
  • Points to get the attention of others
  • Shows interest in a doll or stuffed animal
  • Scribbles on his own
  • Can follow simple directions like “Bring me your shoes”

Movement/Physical Development

  • Walks independently
  • May walk up steps holding on the wall or rail
  • Pulls toys while walking
  • Can help undress herself
  • Can drink from a cup
  • Can eat with a spoon

Activities to Encourage Growth and Development

  • Playing ball with your baby is a fun game to try. Find a ball that is soft for you and your baby to throw and catch with. She may not be able to catch it yet, but she will enjoy trying to catch it, roll it, throw it, and run after it. There are a number of great parks in the region with wide green spaces to play ball at. Pople Park in Trail, Mazzocchi Park in Fruitvale and Haley park in Warfield all have an abundant green space area to run and chase after balls.
  • Dancing is a great way to get moving, for both you and baby. Turn on the music and move your body. If baby is still learning to walk and balance, you can encourage dancing on her feet by holding on to her hands to support her.
  • While it is still necessary for you to brush your baby’s teeth, you can encourage her to do it herself as well. Give her tooth brush to her while you are brushing your teeth and watch her imitate your actions.
  • We encourage all children at 18 months to have a developmental checkup. Please contact FAN at 1-855-368-3707 to sign up for an Ages and Stages event.

When to Ask Questions:

  • While walking, toes greatly point in or child walking on tiptoes the majority of the time
  • If walking, walks with feet greatly pointing out or turning inward
  • Doesn’t show interest in other children
  • Doesn’t have at least 6 words
  • Doesn’t notice or mind when a caregiver leaves or returns
  • Loses skills he once had
  • Does not respond to own name

Toddler 18 to 24 Months – What most toddlers do at this age:

Social and Emotional

  • Gets excited when with other children
  • Shows less dependence on parent for security
  • May show defiant behaviour (i.e. doing what he has been told not to do)
  • Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games

Language/Communication

  • Points to things or pictures when they are named
  • Knows names of familiar people and body parts
  • Puts 4 to 6 words together in a phrase
  • Follows two-step instructions like “pick up your coat and put it on the stair”
  • Repeats words overheard in conversation

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Finds things even when hidden under two or three covers
  • Begins to sort simple shapes and colours
  • Completes sentences and rhymes in familiar books
  • Plays simple make-believe games
  • Can stack 6 or more blocks on top of one another

Movement/Physical Development

  • Kicks a ball
  • Begins to run
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture without help
  • Walks up and down stairs while holding on
  • Throws ball overhand a short distance

Activities to Encourage Growth and Development

  • This is a great age to use puppets. If you do not have a puppet(s), you can make your own using a sock. Put your hand in the puppet/sock and start talking with it to your toddler. Watch her laugh and learn through this very fun game that she may enjoy.
  • You can help your toddler comfort a doll or stuffed animal by playing doctor. Use tape and Kleenex as bandages and help your child “fix” the doll/stuffy. At the same time, describe how the doll may be feeling and offer words of comfort. For example, “Dolly’s tummy hurts, I think she needs some extra hugs today.”
  • Your child may like to start playing dress up at this age. Have some fun items for her to pretend dress up with, old hats, scarves, shoes etc. You can pretend to have a tea party as princesses, or fight fires as firefighters.
  • To help your child master their balance, take them for a walk to a local playground. Have them hold on to railings as they climb up the stairs, and sit on their bottoms as they slide down the slides. Always supervise children at the playground to prevent falls. Also, try and find a park that has age appropriate play structures. Some great parks for toddlers in the area are: Nickleplate Park in Rossland, Gyro Park in Trail, and Fruitvale’s Town Park located behind the Village office.

When to Ask Questions:

  • Doesn’t use three word phrases.  For example, “doggy is sleeping”
  • Doesn’t know what to do with common things, like a brush, phone, fork, spoon
  • Not able to copy actions and words
  • Seems fearful and/or doesn’t understand danger
  • Not able to follow simple instructions
  • Doesn’t walk steadily
  • Loses skills she once had

Toddler 24 to 30 Months – What most toddlers do at this age:

Social and Emotional

  • Lessoning dependence on parents, often saying “No! Me do it!”
  • Displays shyness around strangers and unfamiliar situations
  • Likes to play near other children but not yet able to play co-operatively
  • May pull hair, hit or bite other children when overwhelmed or frustrated
  • Becoming aware of gender
  • Moves back and forth between wanting independence and needing security of parents
  • Can still be attached to a cuddly or favourite toy
  • Demands his own way much of the time
  • Expresses feelings through language and pretend play (e.g., roaring like an angry lion)

Language/Communication

  • Uses “self-centered” pronouns like ‘I’, ‘’me’, ‘mine’, ‘you’
  • Answers simple questions like, “What’s your name?”
  • Enjoys looking at books and talking about the pictures
  • Sings parts of songs
  • Can relate an event that happened in the past

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Engages in simple pretend playing
  • Matches shapes, pictures and some colours
  • Showing increased attention span
  • May begin to understand sequencing of words and numbers

Movement/Physical Development

  • Scribbles, holds crayon in whole hand
  • Can remove lids from jars, rotating the wrist
  • Stringing beads and picking them up with thumb and finger
  • Can walk backwards and sideways
  • Can jump in place with both feet leaving the floor
  • Pedal a riding toy
  • Can walk up and down stairs

Activities to Encourage Growth and Development

  • Dinner time is a good time to have the family interact with each other. One way to build on communication skills is by asking each person at the table one thing that they did that day. Your toddler may forget what she did, but you can make suggestions to remind her. Such as, “did we go for a walk today?” In addition to communication, this helps them understand “taking turns.”
  • Crafts are a great way to work on fine motor skills. A popular craft is making necklaces using big pasta noodles (such as rigatoni or penne) and some yarn or string. You can paint the noodles before hand but make sure they are dry before you start. Your child then can string the pasta noodles onto the yarn/string, and create a necklace. You may want to tape the end of the yarn/string that is used to string the pasta on, so that the end does not fray.
  • Encourage your child to feed herself with utensils. Show her how to twist the fork with pasta, or scoop up mashed potatoes. This will get messy. Be patient, and continue to be positive as she attempts to master this skill.
  • You can help your toddler to learn different types of movement by pretending to be birds soaring high or cats on the prowl. To add another element of fun, you can put on some music and flap your wings like birds, walk like tall giraffes, or hop like bunnies to the music. There may be programs in your area that offer movement based programs for toddlers. Check out FANs calendar page for links to fee based programs in your area.

When to Ask Questions:

  • Child rarely responds when you call
  • Child can not speak like others his age
  • You can not understand what your child says
  • Child is not running, climbing or walking like others her age
  • Child has ongoing difficulty with feeding, sleeping or getting along with others

Parent Links

Healthy sleep habits are important. Routine is very important for a toddler. At this age, children thrive on regular routines.

Toddlers need different amounts of sleep at various ages. Most – but not all – toddlers follow this pattern:

  • At 12 months – May sleep about 14 hours in 24 hours having a morning and afternoon nap. Between 14 months and 18 months, the morning nap disappears and is replaced with one longer afternoon nap.
  • At 24 months – May sleep 11 to 12 hours at night with a nap in the afternoon lasting one to two hours.
  • At 30 months – May sleep about 12 hours at night and may or may not have a short nap.

Here are some tips for helping your toddler build healthy sleep habits:
https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/healthy-sleep-habits-toddlers

A variety of great articles on feeding your toddler can be found here:
https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/topic/healthy-eating-0

Caregivers can help toddlers maximize their physical development at this age by providing lots of opportunities for play.

Have a look at these links:
https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/topic/learning-through-play

This stage in development can sometime feel challenging for parents.

Here are some great links for strategies for parenting toddlers:
https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/topic/parenting-toddler
https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/topic/challenging-behaviour
http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/behaviour

Toddlers are curious and excited about exploring their environment. Help them to explore and be safe.

Is it an emergency? Call 9-1-1

Safety Links:
https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/topic/toddler-safety
https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/topic/outdoors-0
http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/PPI/Prevention/sunsafety/infant.htm