Skip to Content

Normal Growth and Development of Toddlers


Normal growth and development is how your toddler grows physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. A toddler is 1 to 2 years old.


Physical changes:

  • Your child may gain 4 times his birth weight during this year. His height may increase to about 22 inches.
  • Your child may walk without support at about 1 year old. He will start to do activities, such as jumping, as his balance improves.
  • Your child will learn fine motor skills. He may be able to hold a book without help and turn pages.

Emotional and social changes:

  • Your child wants to be near you and may be anxious around strangers. He may cry if you are not nearby. He may play beside other children but not want to play with them. He may be anxious in unfamiliar places or around unfamiliar objects.
  • Your child wants to be in control more. He will start to do things himself. He may seem stubborn, refuse help, or be easily frustrated. His mood may change easily, and he may have temper tantrums.


  • Your child understands the world around him, even if he does not talk yet. He may be able to point to a body part when named or point to pictures in books. He may also recite or fill in words in stories that he knows. Your child can follow simple directions and requests.
  • Your child will try to form words, and it may sound like babbling. He may also use hand motions to say what he wants. During this year, he may start to put more words together and form sentences.

Help your child develop:

  • Help your child get enough sleep. He needs 12 to 14 hours each day, including 1 or 2 naps. Set up a routine at bedtime. Make sure his room is cool and dark.
  • Give your child a variety of healthy foods each day. This includes fruits, vegetables, and protein, such as chicken, fish, and beans. Toddlers can be picky about what they eat. Do not force your child to eat. Give him water to drink.
    Healthy Foods
  • Play with your child to help him learn and develop his imagination. Play time also improves his skills and gives him self-confidence. Some good examples of toddler games are building blocks, word games, or peek-a-boo.
  • Read with your child to help develop his language and reading skills. Ask your child simple questions about the story to develop learning and memory. Place books that are appropriate for his age within his reach.
    Read with Your Child
  • Set clear rules and be consistent. Set limits for your child. Praise and reward him when he does something positive. Do not criticize or show disapproval when your child has done something wrong. Instead, explain what you would like him to do and tell him why.
  • Understand your child's behavior and signs. Be patient, give your child time to finish his thought, and try to understand what he says. Use short, clear sentences to help him learn to communicate clearly.

Safe play:

  • Do not give your child small objects that can fit in his mouth and cause him to choke. Choose safe toys without small parts.
  • Do not give your child toys with sharp edges. Do not let him play with plastic bags, rope, or cords.
  • Clean your child's toys regularly and store them safely. Make sure your child's toys are made of nontoxic material.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.