Developmental milestones

There will be lots happening in your toddlers development from 12 – 24 months but it’s important to remember that no toddler is the same. Developmental milestones come at their own pace and when they are good and ready. The developmental milestones below are a guideline only. If there is anything you are concerned about speak to your GP or community health nurse. One toddler may reach a milestone early, another later. Babies born prematurely tend to reach milestones a little later.

A toddlers’ ability to crawl is faster and better and they become quite the climber. Climbing on sofas, tables and trying to get into everything themselves, independence begins! Soon after turning one, toddlers begin to walk, quickly growing confident on their feet. Other physical activities toddlers enjoy are carrying objects from one place to another; using crayons and their entire arm to colour; sitting in a chair that is their size, feeding themselves with toddler cutlery, building a few building blocks and removing some items of clothing. “I do it” and “no” will be a common phrase.

At this developmental stage toddlers like to play games that involve finding things. They can identify objects in picture books and pick up new words from stories. Language skills grow quickly at this developmental milestone; by around 18 months your toddler should be able to say at least seven singular words and by 24 months these words should be used in short phrases and sentences. Toddlers can understand more than they can express and they listen attentively to what you say. Between 12-24 months,toddlers can also understand directions like, “Get down” or “pick it up”. They develop knowledge of household objects like what a fork is used for, or a favourite; how to turn off the telly mid program!

From 12 months, toddlers are usually more accepting of strangers and will play alongside other toddlers as well as on their own. Tantrums surface when they are hungry or tired. Toddlers are interested in everything; it’s a time of exploration which tends to result in them wanting to wander off and climb everything in sight.

Developmental milestones to be aware of: if your toddler is not walking by 18 months, doesn’t understand the use of everyday objects, doesn’t speak at least six words by 18 months, doesn’t imitate words and actions and loses skills previously had. Speak to your GP or public health nurse and seek advice if you feel your toddler is not reaching certain developmental milestones.

maternity & infant

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