What Are Toddler Developmental Guidelines?

What Are Toddler Developmental Guidelines? thumbnail
Toddlers reach milestones differently.

By the time your child reaches her toddler years -- 1 to 3 -- she'll become mobile and curious of her surroundings. Don't become overly worried if your child develops differently than other toddlers, since toddlers develop at their own rates. The developmental milestones of toddlers give you only an idea of what your child may learn to do as she progresses.

  1. Language Development

    • Toddlers can talk in short sentences.
      Toddlers can talk in short sentences.

      When your child turns 2, he should know 50 words and speak up to 500 words by age 3, indicates the Mayo Clinic. Children can say simple phrases between 18 months and 2 years. By the time your child turns 4, he should hold a conversation you can understand. Children familiar with objects can point to them, as well as recognize the names of people, body parts and objects.

    Motor Skills

    • Toddlers should develop motor skills at about age 2.
      Toddlers should develop motor skills at about age 2.

      Climbing furniture and scribbling on paper begins by age 2. By the end of 2 years, your child can walk unassisted, pull toys while walking and possibly stand on her tiptoes. Children at 2 might run, or climb up and down stairs. You might notice your child having a preference for using one hand more than the other, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Children at 2 might use spoons or forks when eating. By 3 children may start to show an interest in stacking blocks.


    • Between two and three, toddlers begin to explore more.
      Between two and three, toddlers begin to explore more.

      Between 2 and 3, toddlers develop a sense of independence, or a phase known as the "terrible twos." Your toddler will experience social and emotional changes such as imitating others and expressing dissatisfaction when his routine changes. Your child may engage in imagination play, which includes feeding or changing a doll or stuffed toy. Your child may understand the difference between what belongs to him and what belongs to someone else, states the CDC.

    Areas of Concern

    • If you can't understand your child's speech by 2, causes of speech delay can include hearing problems. If your child doesn't hold your gaze, doesn't play or develop an interest in other children, consult with your pediatrician to discuss possible developmental disabilities. Other concerns include extreme separation anxiety, not understanding simple commands or a rapid decline in skills your child once had, for example, loss of speech.

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  • Photo Credit Happy Toddler image by Mary Beth Granger from Fotolia.com child talks on cell phone image by Pavel Losevsky from Fotolia.com girl at the park image by sonya etchison from Fotolia.com Blond Toddler playing against a colorful background image by Sydney van Rensburg from Fotolia.com

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