Child Development: Toddlers

Blink—and They're On-the-Go

"Mine, mine, mine!" Welcome to "toddlerville." Do you feel your entire day is speng chasing your Tasmanian devil around? Your toddler is busy exploring the world, and full of personality. Toddlers are constantly curious, trying to figure everything out. They are active in their "own" world and see themselves as the center of it.


Parenting Tips

Is it time to get out of the crib? Start talking to your toddler about changing to a bed to build excitement. Your toddler may be sleeping 11 to 12 hours a night plus taking one or two daytime naps. Naps will eventually decrease to one a day. Some children may take naps until they start preschool.

Talk, talk, talk. Teaching toddlers new words helps with later reading skills. They may understand many words, but only speak a few. Read and talk about pictures in a book. Rhymes and songs at bedtime are a great addition. Encourage your toddler to repeat what you say, or make the sounds of an animal or object. At 12 months, the average child says up to three words and communicates by pointing, nodding, etc. Talk to your doctor if your 1-year-old cannot say any words.

Do time-outs really work? Most 2-year-olds understand time-out as a break in activity. This can be helpful for parents if it is used as a parent-imposed break to stop the toddler's immediate behavior. It seldom works as a form of punishment.

Does your toddler show interest in the potty? Does he pull off the diaper or stay dry for long periods? It may be time to start teaching your toddler how to sit on the toilet and wipe. Accidents are inevitable! Punishing your toddler for having an accident will only make the process stressful for both of you. Be patient and consistent. It will happen.

Monkey see, monkey do. Your toddler is a great imitator. Take advantage of this by teaching songs and actions to encourage thinking and motor skills. Practice brushing teeth, putting on socks or even dusting the furniture.

Mine! Toddlers interact with other children at play, but they aren't ready to share at this stage. Toddlers mimic peers as a way to learn to master new skills, not as a way to make friends.

Developmental Milestones

From ages 1 to 3, your toddler will learn or be able to:

  • walk well
  • run and climb
  • use simple words to ask questions
  • use word combinations
  • point to body parts
  • pick up objects off the floor
  • use a spoon
  • try to dress or take clothes off
  • kick a ball
  • imitate others

Toddler Health and Safety:

Wipeout! By age 1 your child is beginning to walk and will soon walk independently, start to run, and easily climb stairs. Bumps and bruises are to be expected. Let your doctor know if your child is walking on his or her toes. Block off areas that may be dangerous for this busy bee.

Vaccination Check-up. By age 2, most of your toddler's shots should have been administered. Check with your doctor to schedule any missed vaccinations.

Exploring their world. Toddlers are curious about the things around them and want to try to do things on their own. Give toddlers room to explore but set limits to keep them safe. Remove items that will cause injury. Beware of choking foods: hot dogs, popcorn, candy, nuts, grapes, raw veggies. Be sure to cut foods into small pieces.

Parenting Challenges


Play & Learn Activities Calendar

Help children learn through play by using one of the following age-specific monthly calendars that feature daily activities. Download the calendars:

March 2019: