Toddlers experience a spurt in their development between 12 months and 36 months. They build upon a whole range of skills that they may just have experienced – like steps and words – to become young children within just a couple of years’ time.
MobilityThe groundwork of infancy – when your baby learned to crawl and take their first steps – will now pay off. From months 12 to 36, your toddler will rapidly add running, jumping, climbing and even riding tricycles to their repertoire. Toddlers can also navigate stairs, kick and throw balls and will even show preference for one hand over the other by 24 months.
ReadingSome three- and four-year old children might recognise a simple word as a sort of whole – like a picture – and associate it with the picture it’s next to. But reading for many toddlers consists of recognising and naming objects and animals they see in picture books.
You can help your toddler develop a good relationship with books and literacy by reading often and reading together. Keep story time brief, though, as many toddlers have short attention spans and are unlikely to sit still for long.
Toilet trainingAround 24 months old, your toddler might start showing an interest in using the toilet. You can encourage a measure of self-control by asking your toddler questions about when or if they need to go to the toilet and then taking them to the bathroom. Start with a potty or a toilet training seat and practice by seating them on it before they need to go.
SpeechBy the time your baby turns one, they might have picked up a simple word or two like “mama” or “dada” – within the first few months they’ll add a handful to these. But as they approach 24 months, your toddler will be using up to 50 words and will understand many more. Once they’ve turned two, they’ll start to rapidly increase their vocabulary and be able to speak in short, simple sentences. And by their third birthday, toddlers can follow and give instructions, ask complex questions and can be much more clearly understood.
ThinkingYour toddler will quickly develop and understand a range of different concepts that adults take for granted, such as: the relationships between time and space; enduring qualities of things, like balls are round and adults are tall; and looking for and finding things that are out of sight.
With developments in their speech, toddlers can follow (or choose to ignore) more complex instructions and can even give their own.