21 Months Old: Baby Growth, Development, Food & Activities

21 Months Old Baby Growth and Development

Your baby is still a few months short of turning two and yet may have covered many milestones and developed several new skills. He may be walking with more assurance, possibly running, hopping all over the house. He may be pushing and pulling his toys with ease, climbing stairs without much effort. In fact, by now he may have mastered the art of climbing which means he can scramble his way onto tabletops, counters, chairs to reach for the object of his desire.

Video: 21 Month Old Baby’s Growth and Development

A toddler at 21 months is full of energy which seems to be inexhaustible. But this constant motion may be benefitting your toddler in building and strengthening his muscles, developing his cognitive and motor skills, sharpening his mind and then allowing him to sleep peacefully at the end of the day! Some aggressive behaviour in the form of tantrums, biting, hitting may also get manifested during this time. But most toddlers outgrow such behaviours as they grow up.

21 Month Old Toddler Development

Every child is an individual and can have varying developmental milestones. Some children may cover certain milestones sooner while others take time. It is best to allow every child to chart his progress at his own time and pace. A parent should not unnecessarily worry or hurry up their toddler if they feel he has not reached some of the perceived 21 months old baby milestones.

Physical Development

Your toddler at this stage may like to attempt different physical challenges every day. He may keep you on your toes as he explores his physical capabilities and discovers new exploits and possibly treats your house as his adventure playground. Some of the physical development of a 21 months toddler can be:

  • Your toddler may be walking and running about everywhere confidently.
  • He may be able to push around pieces of furniture or navigate around them without much difficulty.
  • He may have become an expert climber mounting on different surfaces and then climbing down with ease.
  • He may be able to climb stairs and get down too without much help.
  • Your toddler may also be learning to balance himself well and do things well like bending over and then standing back again without losing balance.
  • He may be able to walk backwards, fling a ball overarm, kick a ball and help you with easy tasks about the house.

Social and Emotional Development

Toddlers may create a world of their own and want things to happen their way. They tend to seek attention and can be ruthless, restless and uncontrolled simply as a mean to test new behaviours. Few social and emotional development of a 21 months old toddler can be:

  • Your toddler may gain more self-assurance. He may be now slightly more comfortable being without you if you leave him in someone’s company.
  • Most toddlers start referring to themselves as “I” or by their names.
  • Your toddler may be willing to share his toys or things with others. He may begin to become more mindful of others.
  • Your toddler may be capable of recognizing familiar faces if you happen to show him a picture album.
  • Your toddler’s active imagination may give rise to certain fears in him like fear of water or insects.
  • Toddlers may like to assert their independence in situations which often lead to temper tantrums.

Social and Emotional Development

Cognitive and Language Development

Your toddler’s seemingly improving language skills may provide him with more confidence to communicate with others on his own. Some other cognitive and language developmental milestones can be:

  • Your toddler may be able to name many of his body parts with his increasing attention to detail.
  • He will love scribbling on paper or on the walls with crayons.
  • His growing consciousness of his senses may make him curious about how diverse things smell, taste, look, and sound.
  • Your toddler may now be able to sit and patiently go through a picture book or fit in a few pieces of a jigsaw puzzle by himself as his thinking and reasoning skills continue to develop.
  • He can understand simple instructions and can say simple phrases and use them to make short sentences.


Toddlers usually imitate grown-ups. You can help your child develop good manners by displaying good behaviour yourself. For example, if you want your kid to say “thank you” and “please” do use those words while talking to him and other people. Use more of positive affirmations than negatives while instructing your toddler. For instance, instead of saying “Don’t hit the dog” say “Touch the dog softly”.

You can establish a few reasonable rules around the house. Your toddler may not follow all the rules. Consistently remind him. Rewarding the good behaviour of your child is always a good idea. It may encourage him to repeat his positive behaviour.

Toddler’s Temper Tantrums

Many toddlers at 21 months often display intense mood swings, temper tantrums, repeated aggressive behaviour particularly if their actions may prompt an exciting response from adults. They may try to assert their will to test if they have enough power to do things as they like. In such situations, it is important to remain calm and instead of scolding him for his unacceptable behaviour consider using the situation to help guide your toddler towards positive behaviour. For example, instead of raising your voice, speak respectfully. Your toddler is more expected to listen when spoken quietly. Allow your toddler some time for his feelings of anger and frustration to pass away. Sometimes a hug can do wonders. Others may require a distraction of sorts like an interesting toy or activity. In case your toddler throws a tantrum in front of other people, take him to a quiet place and allow him time to vent out his anger till he calms down.

Food and Nutrition

In case your baby at 21 months is still on bottle feed you may consider taking steps to wean him off it. Make sure you make the transition slowly in stages. You may like to introduce your toddler to a kid sipper for his day feeds.

Food and Nutrition

21-month-old baby food should ideally include all sorts of healthy veggies and fruits. But toddlers tend to be fussy eaters. Resist the temptation to force them to eat lest they develop an aversion to meal times. You can try and arouse their interest by involving them during the preparations of their meals. Being imaginative regarding the presentation of their meals may also help. Toddlers are likely to develop preferences for certain foods but try and constantly introduce them to different kinds of foods in small quantities. If your toddler seems reluctant to taste or dislike some food initially, keep offering him and he may eventually accept it.


Your toddler is likely to sleep less during the day. He may probably nap only once or twice throughout the day. Most of his sleep may happen at night now. Your toddler may display some resistance to falling asleep during bedtime. However, it is important to establish a bedtime routine for your toddler and more importantly stick to it. Your toddler may experience some separation anxiety during bedtimes which may disrupt his sleep. Moreover, some toddlers develop sleep regression around this age wherein a toddler who otherwise has been sleeping well may suddenly start experiencing recurrent night wakings. Your toddler’s imaginative mind may trigger some bedtime fears in him like fear of the dark, monsters.

Play and Activities

It is essential that your toddler plays with age-appropriate toys that may not only be safe for him but also aid in his proper development. 21 months old baby activities may include toys that allow him to pretend like phones, trains, racing cars, toy food, toys that he can handle easily like playing blocks, plastic bricks and buildings, action toys like balls, tricycles, musical toys like xylophones, drums. You can get your toddler mini climbing frames or simply pile up a few cushions or create an obstacle course and let him have his fun. Your toddler may also find singing rhymes with actions, playing with crayons, finger play interesting enough.

Tips for Parents

Certain tips for parents about child’s health and development are listed below:

  • It is important to childproof your house and remove potential hazards to prevent any likely harm to your toddler.
  • Encourage him to brush his teeth regularly to reduce the likelihood of teeth decay.
  • Experts say that parents who speak clearly and frequently with their toddler without indulging in baby talk may help their toddler develop a large vocabulary and the chance to talk with clearness.
  • Set a routine for your toddler regarding his mealtimes, naptimes, bedtimes.
  • It is also a good time to introduce your child to swimming.

Tips for Parents

Consult a Doctor If

It is always wise to follow your instinct when it comes to your child’s health and safety. If you feel that something is not right, consult your doctor for guidance. In case your toddler is a fussy eater you can seek a dietician for advice. Some toddlers suffer from delayed speech. But 21 month old not talking is a worrisome situation which requires examination by a speech pathologist.

You toddler at 21 months old is like a little adventurer eager to explore various things while developing different skills in the process. Give your toddler ample love and support especially when you see him faltering or demonstrating aggressive behaviour. Enjoy this phase along with your baby wherein you get to relive your childhood once again!

Also Read: Growth and Development Stages of Toddlers

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