Normal Growth And Development Of Toddlers


  • Toddlers are children who are 1 to 2 years of age. They go through changes in development and learn a lot of new skills during this time period. Your child learns to control his movement. He begins to sit on his own, stand, walk, run, and even jump. He learns to use and better control his hands and fingers. His ability to talk and to understand words also improve.

  • During the toddler years, your child becomes very close with his caregiver who may be his parent, relative, or babysitter. He may play beside other children, but may not want to play or share toys with them. Your child wants to be in control of what he does and what is around him. He may insist on doing things himself and refuse help, but get easily frustrated. His mood may easily change, leading to temper tantrums.


Ask for more information about where and when to take your child for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services for your child, ask for information.

Helping your child:

  • Help your child get enough sleep: Make sure your child gets enough sleep (about 12 to 14 hours) everyday. Schedule his sleep with the same bed time and wake time each day. It may also help if the child's room has no TV, and is cool and dark. Bedtime routines are also helpful for your child. Avoid giving your child food or drinks with caffeine, especially after lunchtime. Caffeine, which may be found in chocolate, tea, and cola, may delay his sleep.

  • Play with your child: Play time helps his learning, improves his skills, and boosts his self-confidence. It also helps you know your child and what he can already do. Playing simple word games with your toddler, like pat-a-cake or peek-a-boo will help his language develop faster. Give him toys that allow him to use his imagination, such as building blocks.

  • Read with your child: Reading books together helps your child's language and reading skills develop faster. Asking your child simple questions about the story will help develop learning and memory. Place books that are fit for his age within his reach. Computer and video games should only be used with an adult. These should be used for 1 to 2 hours a day or less. All games should be fit to your child's age.

  • Set clear rules that do not change: Time out may be used as a way to discipline your toddler. This lets him quiet down and think about what he did. It also gives you time to calm down and stay in control. Set limits for your child. Praise and reward your child when it is suitable. Do not criticize or show disapproval of your child when he has done something wrong. Explain what you would like him to do instead, and tell him why.

  • Understand your child's behavior and signs: As your child starts to speak, learn the signs or actions he uses in place of words. Be patient, give your child time to finish his thought and try to understand what he is saying. Do not use complex or very simple sentences when talking to him. Speaking to your child using clear sentences will help him learn how to communicate better.


Do not force your child to eat. It is more important to be sure that what your child eats and drinks is healthy. Have your child eat a variety of healthy food every day. A balanced diet should include fruits, vegetables, breads, dairy products, and protein (such as chicken, fish, and beans). Have your child sit with the family at mealtime even if he does not like to eat. You may need to offer him a food 10 or more times before he eats it. Give him healthy snacks between meals, and water to drink. Eating healthy foods may help your child feel better and have more energy. Ask your child's caregiver if he should be on a special diet.

Road safety:

Use approved car seats correctly. There are many types of car safety seats. Before you choose a safety seat for your child, check the age and weight limits for the seat. Do not put your child in a safety seat that is not right for his age or size. Never put your child in the front seat of a car with a safety airbag. Ask caregivers for more information on the different types of car seats and how to use them. You may also contact:

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington , DC 20590
    Phone: 1- 888 - 327-4236
    Web Address:

Safe play:

  • Do not give your child toys with loose string, rope, ribbons, or cord.

  • Do not let your child play with toys that have sharp edges.

  • Clean your child's toys regularly.

  • Keep away small objects that may fit in your child's mouth and cause choking. Make sure his toys are safe for his age without small parts that may easily be removed or taken apart.

  • Make sure your child's toys are made of nontoxic (not poisonous) material.

  • Make sure your child's toys are stored and kept safely when not in use. Do not store toys in boxes with lids.

For more information:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics
    141 Northwest Point Boulevard
    Elk Grove Village , IL 60007-1098
    Phone: 1- 847 - 434-4000
    Web Address:
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
    11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
    Leawood , KS 66211-2680
    Phone: 1- 913 - 906-6000
    Phone: 1- 800 - 274-2237
    Web Address:


  • Your child does not want to eat.

  • Your child has trouble sleeping.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's growth and development, such as the following:

    • Your child is 1 and one-half to 2 years of age, and still cannot form real words or understand words.

    • Your child is 1 to 1 and one-half years of age, and cannot follow one-step commands without using actions.

    • Your child is two years of age, and cannot follow two-step commands without using actions.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.