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Toddlerhood - 24 to 36 Months


Updated July 14, 2011

Toddlerhood - 24 to 36 Months

Early Child Development


Early Child Development Varies:

Early Childhood Development varies from child to child. The developmental milestones below are a general estimate of typical child development. If a child is ahead of schedule or behind these estimates, he may still be within average ranges of development. If you have concerns about your child's development, discuss them with your pediatrician.

Fine Motor Skills - Your Child's Hand-Eye Coordination Improves:

Your child should begin to show more of a preference for either his left or right hand. Ignore any folklore about the "disadvantages" of left-handedness. In most cases, hand dominance is an inherited characteristic and is normal. Your child is developing more fine motor strength, and he can grasp and twist door knobs, pull drawers open, and open cabinets. Drawing, working with large piece puzzles, big blocks, giant pop-beads, musical toys, and other age-appropriate, safe toys will enhance his fine motor development.

Communication Skills - Speech and Language Skills are Developing:

Your child understands language more than he can express, but his spoken vocabulary is growing. He can speak in two word sentences, and may join three or more words to express himself. Typical vocabulary for this age ranges from about fifty to over 250 words. Your child will ask, "Why" a lot. Patiently answer his questions using words and pictures or objects that are familiar. At times, he may become frustrated and bite or throw tantrums because he cannot fully express himself. Continue reading to your child and talking with him throughout the day. Read books introducing colors, shapes, animals, and toys.

Cognitive Skills - Your Toddler's Thinking Skills Continue to Grow:

Your child is developing language skills, and his ability to remember things that are important to him are improving. He is beginning to think about objects and people in a complex way, attaching memories, experiences, and his opinions to them. He will begin showing interest in playing along side other children and will show a preference for some children and adults over others. He is beginning to solve nonverbal problems.

Support Your Baby's Learning - Safely:

Toddler years are wonderful and challenging. Continue to "toddler-proof" your home by making sure your child can only access items that are safe for him. Nothing substitutes for responsible adult supervision, but use other safety measures as well. Installing child locks on cabinets, outlets, drawers, and medicine cabinets is a must. Keep all breakables and sharp edges well out of reach. Although your child may be able to navigate steps, you should continue to supervise to ensure safety. Regularly inspect toys for loose parts, and register all equipment to ensure you receive recall information.

Gross Motor Skills - Your Toddler's Movement Continues to Develop:

At this age, your toddler should be running, jumping, and climbing on age-appropriate playground equipment. His coordination is improving. He may begin to walk up and down stairs stepping on each step with one foot. He will enjoy playing games with running and kicking balls and climbing. Supervision is important at this age to prevent accidents. With his new found skills, your toddler may try to climb to reach objects that are not safe for children. Assess your home on a regular basis to identify potential safety risks and to remove or secure them.

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