Toddler development or transition from babyhood to early childhood that takes place between 12 and 24 months of age is marked by a number of developmental milestones. Watching your child mastering new skills such as walking, talking, drawing and writing, developing a desire to do things on his or her own and perhaps use the potty is very exciting as well as exhausting. This is due to the fact that increased mobility and independence increase the risk of accidents and injuries which means that you will need to keep a close eye on your child during the toddler period.
Toddler development can be divided into the following categories:
Physical development. Your child will not just grow bigger but will also develop fine and gross motor skills which will enable him or her to walk, run, climb, jump, draw, push and pull. However, prepare yourself on occasional accidents and toddler-proof your home to prevent potentially serious injuries. Place plug covers on all unused outlets, block the stairs, and keep all sharp and potentially dangerous objects out of reach to your toddler.
Cognitive development. Between 12 and 24 months of age, your child will develop the ability to speak – initially single words, then simple sentences. He or she will also start to remember things, learn, imagine, and imitate adults and older children.
Social and emotional development. Toddlers are still strongly emotionally attached to their parents, however, they tend to show an increased drive for independence, for instance insisting on dressing and eating on their own. This can lead to conflicting situations because you may have difficulties waiting for your child to finally button his or her coat. You will need a great deal of patience with your toddler but it is very important to allow him or her do things on his or her own because he or she will not able to learn if you intervene each time.
Sensory development. Toddlers develop all key senses including the ability to see, hear, taste and smell, while some also start to understand why their diaper is wet or soiled and may be prepared for potty training. Do not get too excited about diaper-free life, however, because the average age of successful potty training varies greatly from one child to another.
Your toddler will not necessarily reach all the above mentioned developmental milestones by the 24th month of age. It is important to be aware that toddler development varies greatly from one child to another and that children who are late in reaching one milestone, for instance talking will perhaps be ahead in reaching another one. Some toddlers need more time to master these skills and there is no need to be concerned if your child does not walk, talk or use the potty as early as your friends’ children. However, you are highly recommended to talk to your doctor if you think that your child is not reaching normal growth or milestones in any area, or has reached the milestones and lost the abilities later.