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Normal Growth and Development of Toddlers

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 1, 2023.

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 or her birth weight during this year. Your child's height may increase to about 22 inches.
  • Your child may walk without support at about 1 year old. He or she will start to do activities, such as jumping, as his or her balance improves.
  • Your child will learn fine motor skills. He or she 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 or she may cry if you are not nearby. Your child may play beside other children but not want to play with them. He or she may be anxious in unfamiliar places or around unfamiliar objects.
  • Your child wants to have more control. He or she will start to do things himself or herself. He or she may seem stubborn, refuse help, or be easily frustrated. Your child's mood may change easily, and he or she may have temper tantrums.


  • Your child understands the world around him or her. He or she may be able to point to a body part when named or point to pictures in books. Your child may also recite or fill in words in stories that he or she knows. Your child can follow simple directions and requests.
  • Your child will try to form words, and it may sound like babbling. He or she may also use hand motions to say what he wants. During this year, your child may start to put more words together and form sentences.

Help your child develop:

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

Safe play:

  • Do not give your child small objects that can fit in his or her mouth. This can cause your child to choke. Choose safe toys without small parts.
  • Do not give your child toys with sharp edges. Do not let him or her 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.

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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.

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