What to expect from your toddler - Developmental milestones
You always expect something out of the ordinary and random from your toddler. They're full of energy, enthusiasm, curiosity, and hunger for adventures. It's a fun and chaotic period of your life as a parent.
And what about the milestones?
What about the first smile your baby shows? And their first laugh? We all want to be there when the baby takes their first steps, waves their hand to say bye-bye, mimics you, and starts babbling their first words.
But aside from these expected and exciting milestones, there are some things you should be aware of. You'll be facing big feelings, tantrums, loud noises, and dangerous adventures. On top of this, you'll notice changes in their interests, improvement in their abilities, and more.
So, how much do you know about the developmental milestones of your toddler?
Ages 2-3 are essential and crucial years for development in children. They learn to speak, acquire social skills, improve fine motor skills, and learn everyday life skills.
Here are some of the most important milestones you should observe. You'll learn about emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development and how to nudge the little ones toward a healthy direction.
Emotional Development - How do toddlers deal with feelings
Ohh the ages 2-3 are the peak of temper tantrums and random outbursts. But it's okay. It's a natural thing that happens to toddlers, and it's only because kids don't know how to express their feelings and emotions.
Frustration, anger, embarrassment, guilt, and shame are all difficult emotions for toddlers to handle, and the only way they can express them is through crying.
It's vital to keep in mind the way you react will affect their understanding of their own emotions.
So be careful when facing a tantrum (we know it can be challenging), and consider approaching your baby with this in mind:
- Try and keep your cool during a tantrum;
- Observe your child to find out why they're crying. Depending on this, you might need to soothe them by validating their needs or distracting them with something else;
- Do not reward your child during a tantrum. This can encourage them to throw a fit every time they want to get something.
If you want to learn more about tantrums, why they happen, and how you can help your child soothe, we recommend reading "How to Deal With Toddler Temper Tantrums" by Shaun Dreisbach, Jancee Dunn, and Gail O'Connor.
Development of Language skills - when toddlers start talking
Hearing your baby babble their first words is a delight. After that, they start practicing their language skills, observing the conversations between adults and mimicking them.
By The age of 2, toddlers can already form small sentences and have a vocabulary of 200-1000 words. You might also notice your baby will point to the objects they're talking about and repeat words they heard during the conversation.
At the age of 3, your child might even be able to form a small conversation with you. They can already use sentences containing 3-5 or a tad more words.
How can you help your child develop language skills?
- Help them tell the story by asking questions and filling in the gaps;
- Tell them the names of objects while taking a walk, shopping, or doing other activities;
- Play "I spy," "Pointing games," and other talking games with them.
Cognitive Skills - Thinking and problem-solving
Your toddler's brain is growing and absorbing information at a fast pace. By 2-3 years, kids can already sort shapes and recognize colors. They can build towers with wooden blocks and play simple make-believe games.
Everything your child has learned and acquired helped them develop thinking skills. Toddlers start understanding concepts of time and opposites (day/night, hot/cold, big/small). They start solving problems by experimenting with objects around them and trying new things.
Here's what you can do to support the cognitive development of your child:
- Let them help you around the house with simple chores and tasks;
- Include educational mobile games that focus on building problem-solving and fine motor skills in their routine;
- Start teaching them simple math, shapes, colors, and the alphabet with toys and apps.
Behavioral skills - How toddlers play and learn
Play is an essential part of a child's development. Toddlers learn through play; they build social connections in group games and improve their fine motor skills. We've been playing our whole lives (from being cavemen, till today), and we'll be playing games in the future as well.
Aside from the fun and enjoyment, games can strongly impact your child, help them learn everyday life skills, and even boost their preschool material understanding.
At the ages of 2-4, your child will enjoy dressing up, having tea parties, playing pretend, and more. Social situations and activities can strengthen your child's understanding of the world around them and build their self-confidence.
Here's what to do to help your baby learn more through play:
- Stack up on toys that help improve emotional intellect, fine motor skills, and creativity;
- Read bedtime stories, include reading time in their routine, and help them read and describe the pictures in the book;
- Play simple musical instruments together and introduce your toddler to music.
Everyday Skills - When toddlers become a bit more independent
No, we're not talking about children making their own bed or three-course meals. We're talking about putting on their clothes, putting away their toys, helping around the kitchen, and more.
Whether or not you're teaching them these skills directly, they'll start being independent. Children mimic their parent's behavior and want to become exactly like the adults they admire so.
If you'd like to help your baby develop everyday life skills, try these tips:
- Let them help you with simple house chores and thank them. This will make them feel proud and improve their self-confidence;
- Ask for their help in simple things, like passing a book from the table or bringing a toy to the basket, while you're cleaning the room;
- Let your baby choose their own clothing, toys, and books to read, and give them a bit more independence in such decisions.
While the development will happen on its' own, it's essential to remember the role we have as parents in our children's lives.
You can help your baby develop and improve their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills by including helpful, educational activities in their routines.
Remember to actively listen to your child and learn more about their development.