Watching your child learn and grow is a wonderful thing for every parent. You get to experience the joy of watching your child take their first step or say their first word. Not sure what to look for as your baby becomes a toddler? Here are a few growth and development milestones to watch for when your child is between the ages of 1-3.
Walking and Running
Walking will be one of the major development milestones to look for in your toddler. Some children begin to talk before they are 1 year old; however, many children start walking after the 12-month mark. After you child begins to walk, over the next two years, you can expect to see their balance and coordination improve as they move from toddling along to walking and finally running with ease. The ability to walk backwards is something that is usually checked for at the 18 month mark.
Toddlers will also begin to master feeding themselves as they grow. At first, they’ll start with finger foods and eventually progress to eating utensils. Give your toddler plenty of opportunities to handle spoons and forks since this is an important way for them to develop the motor skills necessary for many tasks.
Many children by this age will already be using utensils to some degree, and if you did baby led weaning for the most part this will be a milestone you have hit a couple months before the 12 month mark. Both time-lines are completely normal and based on how much opportunity you give your child to practice.
Drinking from a Cup
Just as eating independently is a growth and development milestone to watch for in your toddler, so is drinking from a cup. You have probably used a sippy cup to transition your toddler away from a bottle or from nursing. Once your child has mastered the sippy cup, you’ll want to teach them to drink from a regular cup without spilling. You can also go straight from the bottle or nursing to a regular cup with a little patience.
Our first daughter went from breast to sippy cup and then to a cup at around 2 years old, however our second daughter became interested in drinking water from a cup at meals like her older sister at only 10 months old. Again, much like self-feeding, it is all about exposure and opportunity – and either extreme is completely normal.
Potty training is another growth and development milestone that you can expect to see your toddler accomplish. When your child is physically ready to potty train, they will let you know. If you notice that your child has dry diapers for long periods, this is a really good indication that they are ready to start. Your toddler might also ask to use the potty or might tell you that they need to relieve themselves or that they have a dirty diaper after the fact. Again all age ranges (and even older in some cases with potty training) is completely normal.
As your toddler grows and develops, you’ll notice that they might have an interested in drawing. This usually starts out with scribbles, but as your toddler grows, you’ll see those scribbles take shape into beautiful artwork that will melt your heart. This growth and development milestone is sure to be a favourite for parents of toddlers. Around the end of their third year, your child will likely start drawing people with huge heads with arms and legs protruding from the head, but this may not start until they slightly older unless they are under the influence of older siblings. Older siblings tend to throw off the time-line a bit as toddlers will emulate their older siblings and pick things up faster than a first or only child.
There are, of course, many other milestones they should reach during toddler-hood. They will soon be able to throw and kick balls, push and pull, crouch to play, stack blocks into high towers, jump, walk up stairs, climb, undress and dress themselves and more. One of my personal favourite milestones is when they learn to care for a doll – generally feeding and putting the doll to sleep.
You may also find that your toddler appears to be regressing in some way. This is so very normal. Toddlers rapidly develop so many skills they can become overwhelmed. When this happens simply respond by giving loving support – it is all part of the process.
Not all children learn at the same rate or pick up the same skills at the same time. It’s important to not compare your child to your friends child. In most cases it is is completely normal – some kids are simply late bloomers while others master new skills easily. If you are concerned though, do not hesitate to speak to your family doctor or paediatrician.
Overall, it is important to provide your child with the freedom to explore the world around them in their own way. This is the best way to help them learn and develop new skills.
Which of these growth and development milestones have you seen in your toddler?
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!