Being Prepared: What To Expect The Toddler Years

Every child goes through periods of rapid development in their life that parents should be aware of so that they know to expect. The first is, of course, after they are born and they go from a tiny infant into a baby capable of sitting up and making sounds and connecting. And the third is when they are teenagers who go through radical body changes that help determine who they are as an adult. This is one of the periods that is filled with the most growth for children so it makes sense that it’s often one of the most challenging for parents who don’t know what to expect the toddler years.

A lot happens after age one but before age two and it happens very rapidly. When they reach 14 months, a child can walk on their own, crawl upstairs and are beginning to use things like cups and spoons. At 15 months their vocabulary expands to 10 to 15 words; they can understand what saying “no” means in t he context of a situation; and they can let their parents know when their diaper is wet. When they reach 16 months they can run well although they fall easily and walk backwards and sideways; they can use phrases that have both adjectives and nouns; they start throwing tantrums; and they can climb stairs and furniture.

Then they hit 2 and the real fun beings in terms of what to expect the toddler years – this is when the talking and interacting with people really starts. Physically, they weight around 24 lbs and are 31 inches tall; they also have 12 temporary teeth and by 2 ½ they will have all 20. Their motor skills dramatically improve to the point where they can walk upstairs on their feet while holding the railing; they can build objects using multiple blocks; they can control spoons and cups very well on their own and they can become toilet trained during the day. Their vocabulary also expands to include about 350 words and they are able to follow simply commands and even help dress and undress themselves. This is also the period during which they see themselves as individuals but other children only as objects; this leads to an “everything is mine” phase.

Parents should also know what to expect the toddler years after age two as well. From 2 to 3, kids start participating in parallel play, where they play alongside but not with other kids. They are able to anticipate a day’s routine and the need to nap slowly starts to decrease. They also able to start using toys in imaginative ways and put together puzzles with small objects. This time is filled with great change is one of the most formative times in a child’s life so it’s important to understand what to expect the toddler years.