The changes you will see in your toddler from his first birthday to his second will be no less dramatic than the growth and advancement in the first year of his life. These advancements will be much more adventurous and active as he learns to use the space around him to explore and as he develops more complex language to communicate. As with all milestones, there is a range of time when a child will meet them. Most kids will meet some milestones early while meeting others a bit later within the normal range. If your toddler is not meeting any one or more of these milestones by his second birthday, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you consult with his pediatrician.
Large Movement Milestones
By the age of 2, toddlers generally should be able to move about easily. The specific milestones to check off include walking unsupported, pulling and carrying toys while walking, and standing on tiptoes. A 2-year-old should also be able to kick a ball, climb up onto and down from objects such as furniture, and walk up and down stairs with support.
Hand and Finger Movement Milestones
By their second birthday, toddlers should be able to hold a crayon and scribble, although it will be awkward, and stack four or more blocks on top of each other. At this age you may even notice if your toddler has a preference for his right or left hand.
With autism rates on the rise, language and social milestones need close attention from parents and doctors. Language milestones include pointing to objects; understanding the name for common objects such as toys, foods, and utensils and people in his daily life; and saying several single words by 18 months of age. By 2 years of age, toddlers should be able to speak in short sentences of two to four words. They should be very talkative at this age, repeating what others say, although it may be difficult to understand exactly what toddlers are saying.
At this age, toddlers begin to pretend play and often pretend to be their parents. They may carry baby dolls and take care of them as their parents do, pretend to cook, or pretend to go to work. They develop an interest in playing near other kids although playing directly with other kids often happens a little later than the second birthday.
As they are now able to move on their own, toddlers start to learn about the world around them in great leaps. By age 2, they should be able to understand that a toy does not disappear when covered by a blanket; instead they will look for it under a blanket. They start to sort objects at this age even without the prompting of parents. They will naturally sort their toys according to their own preference such as by type, size, or color. You may find them lining cars up on one shelf and blocks on another.
- Caring for Your Baby and Young Child Birth to Age 5; American Academy of Pediatrics; 2004
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Important Milestones: Your Child at Two Years
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