Toddler Milestones

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A list of toddler milestones can be a very important tool for parents of young children. It shows developmentally where a child should be in various areas such as social development, emotional development, physical/sensory/motor development, cognitive development, and the development of language and communication skills.

Toddler Social and Emotional Development By Age:

  • 12 month old toddler milestones include: Your toddler may act shy or nervous around strangers and cry when a parent leaves the room (separation anxiety). Your toddler can also play simple games like pat-a-cake or peek-a-boo. At this age toddlers may like to play around peers but don’t usually play with them (parallel play). Toddlers can also show fear at this age, and understand object permanence.
  • 18 month old toddler milestones include: Your toddler may enjoy handing objects to others, and show affection to well-known people. Your child may also do simple pretend play like playing with a stuffed dog or giving a bottle to a baby doll. Your child may also point to show you things, explore by himself/herself with a parent near, and continue to show fear of strangers and/or get clingy in new situations. Toddlers may also have tantrums!
  • 24 month old (2 yr old) toddler milestones include: Your little one will likely enjoy being around other children and enjoy mimicking others including children and adults. Your child is probably still mainly playing beside other children, but is beginning to play with other children. Defiant behavior and an increased amount of independence are also milestones displayed.
  • 36 month old (3 yr old) toddler milestones include: Your child can likely separate easily from parents, show care and concern for friends without being told, take turns,  and dress and undress himself/herself. At this age other milestones include your toddler showing a variety of emotions, understanding about “mine”, “his”and “hers”, and possibly getting upset with a change in routine.

Toddler Physical/Sensory/Motor Development By Age:

  • 12 month toddler milestones include: Your little one can get himself/herself to a sitting position unassisted. Your toddler can pull up to stand and may stand without holding on to any objects. Toddlers are often walking, though not all will be at this age. One year olds often put objects in the mouth at this age too.
  • 18 month old toddler milestones include: Your toddler can walk alone and can also pull toys while walking. Your tot may also know how to walk up stairs or run. Other developments for this age include drinking from a cup, eating from a spoon, and helping you get him/her undressed.
  • 24 month old (2 yr old) toddler milestones include: Toddler can copy or make straight lines and circles. Other 2 year old milestones include getting up and down from furniture, climbing up stairs holding onto the railing or your hand, running, kicking a ball, and throwing a ball underhanded.
  • 36 month old (3 yr old) toddler milestones include: Your toddler can climb up and down stairs using one foot per step, pedal a tricycle, and climb and run well.

Toddler Cognitive Development By Age:

  • 12 month toddler milestones include: Your toddler can follow simple directions like “Pick up the book”. Your child also can explore in a variety of ways including banging objects together, putting objects in and taking them out of containers, shaking objects, and is able to let go of an object without help. Your tot may also try to use objects correctly (brushing hair with hairbrush, trying to drink from cup, tries to use phone correctly, etc). Your child can also copy gestures (waving, etc).
  • 18 month old toddler milestones include: Your child can point to one body part and when s/he hears the word for ordinary objects like books, plate, spoon, crib, s/he knows what these objects are. Other milestones for this age are following a simple verbal command without a hand gesture (ex: stand up) and scribbling unassisted.
  • 24 month old (2 yr old) toddler milestones include: Your tot may begin to sort objects by shape and colors. Your tot may be able to follow instructions with 2 steps, and build a tower that is 4 blocks high. Your child can also find things when hidden under multiple layers, can name pictures in a book, and can play make believe.
  • 36 month old (3 yr old) toddler milestones include: Your child can play pretend with people, animals, and dolls. Your tot can also push buttons, pull levers, copy circles, use books turning one page at a time, build towers 6 blocks high, screw and unscrew lids, turn door knobs, and put together simple puzzles.

Toddler Speech And Language Development By Age:

  • 12 month toddler milestones include: Your tot says “mama” and “dada”, uses gestures like shaking head or waving “bye-bye”, tries to imitate words you say, can recognize his/her name, and changes his/her tone of voice at times when making sounds.
  • 18 month old toddler milestones include: Your toddler may point to show you what is wanted. S/he will probably also know several words, including “no”, and be able to show “no” by shaking head.
  • 24 month old (2 yr old) toddler milestones include: Your child may be able to say the names of familiar body parts and people. Other milestones include being able to say short sentences (2-4 words), points to pictures in books, can follow simple instructions, and repeats words s/he has heard others say while speaking.
  • 36 month old (3 yr old) toddler milestones include: Your child can say the name of most familiar objects, names of friends, own name, own gender, own age, and can have conversations using 2-3 sentences. Your child also understands words like “under”, “in”, “on top” “on”, and may use words like “I”, “me”, “we” in sentences. Your tot also probably talks well enough for strangers to understand most of what’s being said.

By knowing the milestones for your child’s age it’s easy to see areas where you child may be advanced, and areas where your child may need special attention.

The CDC website is a great resource for toddler development and was used in making this page of developmental milestones.

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