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Toddler Behavior Checklist

by Carly Seifert

If your little one is happily hugging you one moment and banging his fists and feet on the floor in a tantrum the next, then you have reached the toddler years. During this time, your toddler's physical development may slow, but socially, intellectually and emotionally, his ever-changing behavior and huge milestones will both delight and challenge you as a parent.

Physical Behavior

Many healthy toddlers learn to walk independently around one year of age and your little one might also enjoy pulling a toy behind him as he goes. Once he learns to walk alone, his ability to run is not far behind. As he approaches age 2, he'll also be able to stand on his tiptoes and kick a ball. By 3 years of age, he's able to handle going up and down the stairs safely by himself, stand on one foot and ride a tricycle.

Verbal Behavior

Around 18 months of age, your toddler's verbal skills will begin to take off. She'll likely be able to say around 10 words at this time, but by the time she's blowing out two candles on her cake, she'll be using two- or three-word sentences to communicate her needs. Her vocabulary will continue to increase as she learns new words each day, developing the ability to speak in full sentences by the age of 3.

Social Behavior

Your toddler loves to imitate you -- whether it's pretending to do housework alongside you or have a phone conversation with Grammy on his plastic cell phone. He probably enjoys playing with her peers a bit more, though sharing and taking turns are skills that won't be fully developed until his preschool years. His play with friends will be mostly side-by-side, but as he nears the age of 3, he will begin to interact and engage his little buddies more frequently during playdates.

Cognitive Behavior

Your little one's mind is growing and expanding during the toddler years. As she learns her shapes and colors, she will be able to name and sort objects using this new found knowledge. Much to your delight, she'll now be able to understand and follow instructions, and one of her favorite past times will likely be playing make-believe.

About the Author

Carly Seifert has been a piano instructor since 2001. She has also covered adoption and introducing children to the arts for "Montana Parent Magazine." Seifert graduated from University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in drama.

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