“Our main survival drive is to belong, and our best social tool is our ability to communicate. Your toddler will be developing and increasing his vocabulary by being in a language-rich environment, which gives him the tools for solid social and emotional development,” says Tarynn McMillan, an educator and BabyGym instructor. “Don’t forget to teach him the magic words that open any door with ease: ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.”
These mini milestones will help your toddler reach the bigger milestones:
Throwing, kicking and catching
As your little one nears three years, he’s likely to want to participate in group activities like soccer or relay races. Ensuring he has the skills to do so will be a big confidence boost for him.
The best way to improve your tot’s skills is to lead by example. Get outdoors and let your child experiment with kicking and throwing balls of various sizes. Catching can be trickier, so ask your tot to cup his hands together close to his body. Now gently toss the ball to him and he will likely clasp his hands around the ball. As he gets the hang of it, you can move further and further away.
Jumping high and far can be challenging for little legs, but your little one will love expressing himself through this physical burst of energy.
The family bed is the perfect place to let your little one be wild. From jumping to throwing pillows and hide-and-seek under the covers, get involved and make sure he stays in the middle of the bed to prevent any tumbles. Progressing to a trampoline will boost his confidence, too.
Your child’s imagination is exploding along with his verbal skills. You’ll begin to notice toys taking on the roles of family members during play, or he’ll start making up stories around different characters.
“Your baby will develop and increase his vocabulary by being in a language-rich environment. Listen to what he says and repeat it to him. Sing songs together, and most importantly, read. Read every day, at every opportunity. Reading is a wonderful way to enrich vocabulary, develop the imagination, and strengthen your bond,” says Tarynn.
Marianne is a freelance content creator and copy editor. She has been part of the Living and Loving team in various capacities over the last six years, but since becoming a mom to a boisterous boy, she has found a special interest in parenting issues including discipline, education and early childhood development. When not running after, and negotiating with, her three-year-old, you’ll find her experimenting in the kitchen.