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Your toddler has officially entered the ‘terrible twos’ and can be a handful to manage. This is an age in which kids will start exploring the world around them. This is the time to explore and test their limits in terms of physical abilities.
Child development milestones are important events in a child’s growth and development. Events like standing, crawling, taking the first step, eating, talking and reading are examples of these milestones. They refer to certain things that children should be able to do by a certain age.
At this stage, you can expect your child to act, behave and do things that steer him towards being independent. Child development milestones for toddlers aged 2-3 years comprise developments such as, their ability to express emotions, imitate actions, follow two or three-step directions and sort out objects by their shape and colour. You can find several learning toys in the market which will help in stimulating your toddler’s sense of shapes and colours.
Physical Development: Milestones
Between the ages of 2-3 years, your toddler will be able to walk about with little external support from her parents. She will begin to experiment with her body parts. For instance, she will try to do multiple movements like walk while dragging a toy behind her, or stand on her toes to reach for something which is beyond her reach. In the playground, she may experiment with a little running, and even start going up and down the stairs with the help of a handrail. She will discover the use of her fingers, and may start to scribble with a pencil. You will find that she will begin to use her fingers to put food into her mouth, and would even imitate your gestures while holding a spoon. She may be able to stack her building blocks during play time. She may also be able to open boxes, drawers, cabinets, etc., on her own.
Social Skills: Milestones
Your 2-year-old may suddenly discover the world around her. She may start showing interest in other people; especially kids, and may be even excited about playing with them. She may try to imitate your actions or mannerisms. This is the age where she might carry out ‘make believe’ plays.
Emotional Growth: Milestones
Your child may start understanding that she is a separate individual, and may begin labelling things as “mine”. She may start testing her boundaries, and can become stubborn and defiant if things do not go her way. She can now describe what she feels. For instance, if she can’t find her toy, she will tell you that she is sad. As she starts discovering her own skills, she may resort to tantrums and aggression to get things done. She will display likes and dislikes and show interest in what she eats and wears.
Cognitive and Literacy Skills: Milestones
By this age, your little one would have started to progress from stand alone words to making small sentences, albeit broken. Her vocabulary would also have increased to around 200 to 400 words, and she will never leave a chance to chatter around. She can understand when she is told to do something such as putting a toy away, or picking up things. Your child begins to understand the concept of classification; for instance, she will know that a dog is an animal and a sparrow is a bird. She may start to scribble with a pencil or a crayon. She may enjoy being read to, and may even demand the same story over and over again. She may begin to understand the concept of hiding things and may enjoy a game of hide and seek. She will be able to tell you simple things like a couple of animal names or body parts.
Your toddler will now develop a sense of cleanliness, and will want to remain dry and clean. She may tell you when she wants to use the toilet. Toddlers are able to do more things themselves and are ready for toilet training. Again, this differs from child to child . Your child may also start dressing and undressing herself, if the clothes are simple and without any tie ups or buttons. She may be able to feed herself a little, though she cannot be expected to follow table manners. It might be a good time to let your little toddler sit with everyone for a family meal. Little things like washing hands will be a joyful activity for most toddlers.
Toddlers are able to think, sort objects, match colours and shapes, and use trial and error to solve problems.
At around two years of age, your toddler might be able to say ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘me’, and utter more than 50 words, and use 2-3 word sentences. During this time, toddlers are able to grasp and use many new words and it becomes easier for other people to understand what your toddler is saying. At the age of 3, toddlers are able to understand more words and use sentences with 3-5 words. Conversational skills will pick up, and develop by leaps and bounds.
Toddlers can run around without falling very often. They can climb upstairs and downstairs by holding a handrailing for support. Between the ages of 2 and 3 years, toddlers get better at kicking, throwing and catching things.
This phase is not known as the “terrible twos” for nothing. Tantrums around this age are normal even as toddlers are just finding their bearings, and are unable to speak out and express anger, frustration or embarrassment they might be experiencing.
Remember that children grow at their own pace, and that each child is different. These are general guidelines and there is no need to be alarmed if your toddler is not yet doing an activity expected by this age. It is always a good idea to get your child assessed periodically by a doctor even as you go for her routine checkups, so that the parents can be assured of their toddler’s overall development and well-being.