Watching nature shows on television, one can’t help but marvel at the level of independence of many critters born in the wild. For example, within a few hours, baby giraffes are taking their first steps, baby turtles are swimming out to sea, and tiny birds are contemplating their first (big) steps out of the nest.
Human babies, on the other hand, are completely and utterly helpless. For a while, that is, until they earn their sea legs when they become toddlers. From that moment on, be prepared to be on the go, to answer every question under the sun, and to navigate the terrible twos (threes) with joy and exhaustion. With an “I’ll do it myself” mantra, your little one will take you on a journey through toddlerhood. Here’s what you can expect from 12 months to 36 months.
A baby becomes a toddler at 12 months of age and continues until about 36-months. To be sure, toddlerhood is a wonderful time of adventure as the toddler becomes more independent due to cognitive development. Parents will begin to notice an emotional and social development that seems as if the toddler is changing quickly and daily before their eyes. In some sense, they are. Toddlers are constantly processing new things. This can account for the tantrums that toddlers occasionally pitch.
When a parent is aware of their toddler’s developmental stage, it will assist them in properly parenting them through toddlerhood, with less frustration for mom, dad, and the little one.
By twelve months of age, toddlers are becoming real, but very little, people, with real expressions and reactions to the world around them. Buckle up, parents: your child’s development is about to take off.
Your toddler will begin to throw items. This is a normal stage of development when a ball becomes an interest. Engage your child by first rolling a ball to her and allowing her to handle the ball by rolling it back as you increase the distance between you. Your child will love playing with you, and at the same time, your involvement is guiding her through the first developmental milestone of her toddler development.
Be sure to continue to engage her in dialogue by narrating everyday activities and pointing out things around her. It won’t take long for the conversation to become a two-way street.
12 to 18 Months
At 12 to 18 months, toddlers are steadier on their feet and have mastered pulling up and walking awkwardly. They are now on to the next stage that has them moving more confidently, usually just far enough from their parents for independent play.
- Push/pull stage – Toddlers who’ve mastered walking love to push or pull toys along and will even mimic their parent’s chores, pushing toy grocery carts, play vacuum cleaners or lawn mowers. Indulge them as much as you can by letting them push their strollers or a tiny shopping cart at the market to instill confidence, pride, and independence.
- Flexibility – Have you noticed how flexible your toddler is? Have you seen them take the catcher position, squatting on their little legs down to their ankles? An earlier stage had them bending over to pick things up, and before that, they were tossing toys from a high chair, watching them disappear over the side and waiting for you to retrieve them. Now it’s your turn. Encourage this developmental stage by littering a few soft toys for her to stop and gather. You might even take advantage of this stage and teach them to have fun by picking up his toys or help you in the garden.
12 to 24 Months
Climbing is crazy fun for children between 12 and 24 months of age. A toddler knows no bounds and will climb on or over anything. This is when the baby gate really comes in handy. This stage has parents kicking it up a notch in the supervision department. Kids climb stairs, on tables, anything. Your toddler loves the challenge and your challenge is to keep your child safe, securing bookshelves, televisions, dressers etc., to walls so that they don’t tumble over onto the child. They also might be climbing out if their cribs, making it a consideration to transition the crib to a toddler bed.
18 to 24 Months
First, they crawled, then they walked and now they full out run. At this stage, running is super fun for your child. When you get involved it’s even more entertaining. Chase or run from your child, feigning to be caught or to be able to catch them. Your child will experience pure joy while gaining motor skills.
Running is one thing, but parents really look forward to potty training. Actually, they look forward to their toddler finishing potty training. There’s a difference.
Potty training is a huge milestone; to go from diaper to big girl or big boy pants. It’s life-changing for toddlers and their parents. Just remember, there’s no exact age when kids potty train. It varies. A good sign that your child is ready is if they show signs of being uncomfortable in a soiled diaper. They might pull the diaper off themselves. This might indicate that your toddler is ready to begin the process of potty training.
24 to 36 Months
You may be walking along, holding your little one’s hand when suddenly you come to a curb. Your child squats and then takes a big leap, big for a toddler anyway. Jumping is a developmental stage and you can encourage it along, by holding their hand for support and allowing them to jump from short steps, curbs and into your arms from short distances.
Your toddler will continue to master new things with each stage of development. If you fear your child is falling behind and not gaining new skills in relation to the right stage, then speak to your pediatrician. She will examine your toddler and gauge where he is on the growth and developmental chart and will order further tests if warranted.
We’d love to welcome you and your toddler to Children’s Health Care. We’ll help you navigate your child’s various health care needs. We specialize in assisting with the transition from infant care to toddler care with our full circle-of-care model. Call today to set up a consultation by contacting the Children’s Health Care of Massachusetts. CHC looks forward to partnering with you to help your child achieve the healthiest childhood possible.