Your child will experience a large amount of cognitive development between one and two years old – with many delightful toddler milestones along the way. Here are six to look out for. By Georgina Guedes
Walking and talking are the toddler milestones that are the most memorable – but there are many smaller milestones that your toddler will achieve between the ages of one and two. Many of these delightful “firsts” will melt your heart.
Here are six of the cutest toddler milestones to look out for in your child’s second year of life:
Knowing her body parts
Toddlers can start pointing to their own facial features when asked, “Where’s your nose?” by about 13 months, and by 24 months, should know at least 10 body parts. While the cognitive fundamentals need to be in place for your child to start achieving this, you can help her by showing and telling her body parts’ names when you dress her and bath her.
From first words to sentences
Your baby’s first word usually makes an appearance around her first birthday, but when she turns two, she should be speaking in phrases or short sentences. Starting at about 18 months, your toddler will probably start issuing short instructions, such as “carry me”, as well as making observations about the world around her, like “dog barking!”
To support verbal development, don’t limit your speech to what your child knows. Give instructions or make observations in full sentences, and read books to your child, asking questions about what’s happening on the pages.
Between 18 and 24 months, most toddlers start acting out things that they have seen adults do –answering phones, carrying handbags, kissing a dolly – with a specific purpose. They aren’t just imitating, they are starting to pretend. From this milestone, a whole world of imaginative play will open up incrementally for your child until it’s almost as if she is living your life in miniature – or creating worlds of her own.
Something that seems so easy to an adult actually requires strength, coordination and courage for your little one. Most toddlers only get to the jumping milestone at around 24 months or just after, but that won’t stop them from trying a little “dzump” from about 18 months – but usually failing to get both feet off the ground at the same time.
Most children can grasp a crayon and move it around on a page when they are 12-13 months old. But don’t expect their work to look like anything other than a few squiggles for at least another year or so. Towards the end of their second year, they might start to tell you that their drawings represent something – but you’ll be hard pressed to discern the “dog” amidst all the green scribbles. That shouldn’t stop you from praising her. Always keep art materials easily available to nurture her budding artistic talent – just keep an eye on her so she doesn’t extend her self-expression to your furniture and walls.
Taking care of themselves
This milestone can be a blessing and a curse. Quite soon after their first birthdays, toddlers start trying to feed themselves. This is not often a huge success, but that doesn’t stop them from being very determined to do it without your help. This milestone applies to everything, from dressing themselves to pushing lift buttons. This budding independence takes oodles of patience from you, because everything takes four times as long – and sometimes still doesn’t get done. Try to make the time to allow your toddler these first steps towards taking care of herself so that you don’t get locked into battles of wills and frustration.
Our experienced editors work with trained journalists and qualified experts to compile accurate, insightful and helpful information about pregnancy, birth, early childhood development and parenting. Our content is reviewed regularly by our panel of advisors, which include medical doctors and healthcare professionals. Meet the Living & Loving Team and our Online Experts.