NEW Parenting Course: Transform Your Parenting Skills with Holistic Positive Parenting™

Toddler Development & Parenting Tips (18 Months – 3 Years)

Toddler Development Parenting Tips 18 Months – 3 Years_mini

When a child takes the first step on their own, a new phase in development begins.  At this stage, children are now free to roam around their world. It’s a time for active exploration of their environment. Language development takes significant leaps, which leads to learning the names of objects of interest and the ability to ask for things. As they discover their independent nature, they also develop the ability to say “NO!”

A major challenge is developing what psychologists call “emotional regulation” during this developmental stage. “Meltdowns” are common during this period. Still, parents can use the bond created during infancy to help their children learn to modulate their emotional expression and begin to grasp the difficult concept of delay of gratification. While they instinctively seem to be able to say “No,” toddlers also need help learning how to accept “No” from others.

This is also a stage of rapid physical and intellectual development in preparing these children for starting school, which includes interacting cooperatively with peers while at the same time being able to compete physically and intellectually. A child’s parent is in the position to be a coach providing just the right combination of encouragement, support, and guidance. Parents also need to serve as the primary teacher for the mastery of basic learning skills and encourage active discussion and experimentation with new concepts and skills.

Moving Onward (Encouraging Development):

Play Activities

18 months-3 years

During this age, the synapses continue to expand and reach about 1,000 trillion – twice the density of the adult brain. (Pruning takes place later to reduce the number). The toddler’s brain is twice as active as the adult brain. The structures of the brain that are sensitive to language and social-emotional response develop. Motor development continues at a rapid pace.

Action is the name of the game for toddlers who delight in running, jumping, climbing, and riding. A ride-on toy to zip around on will be a sure-fire hit, whether it’s a low tricycle or a foot-to-floor vehicle in a whimsical bus or car design. Low climbing toys, large balls, and outdoor items like a sandbox or wading pool are also good choices for developing gross motor skills.

Take-apart toys, pop-up toys, and simple puzzles gratify toddlers’ curiosity about how things work, reinforcing their eye-hand coordination and understanding of spatial orientation and cause and effect. One of the best possible toys is the time-tested classic, a block set: it’s just about the most open-ended, mind-expanding toy made for kids of almost all ages and one that can be used for years. Another creative, tactile-pleasing choice is modeling clay. Tambourines, xylophones, drums, and other simple musical instruments are satisfying noisemakers. Be sure that your child’s toys are made of non-toxic materials, with no sharp edges, points, or small parts that can be removed or broken off and swallowed.

Toys and materials for play and learning for toddlers , including dolls, action figures, playsets, building sets, arts and crafts, music, ride-ons, books, electronics, and more can be purchased on Amazon.com.

Recommended Books for Parents

Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth To Age 5 Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth To Age 5  The most up-to-date, expert advice for mothers, fathers and care providers from the American Academy of Pediatrics. This essential resource is the one guide pediatricians routinely recommend and parents can safely trust, covering everything from preparing for childbirth to toilet training to nurturing your child’s self-esteem.  amazon-button

Brain Rules for Baby Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five  What’s the single most important thing you can do during pregnancy? What does watching TV do to a child’s brain? What’s the best way to handle temper tantrums? Scientists know.  Bridges the gap between what scientists know and what parents practice. Through fascinating and funny stories, the author, a developmental molecular biologist and dad, unravels how a child’s brain develops – and what you can do to optimize it.   amazon-button

Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right  Worried about potty training? Let Jamie Glowacki, potty-training expert at OhCrapPottyTraining.com, show you how it’s done. Her 6-step, proven process to get your toddler out of diapers and onto the toilet has already worked for tens of thousands of kids and their parents. Here’s the good news: your child is probably ready to be potty trained EARLIER than you think (ideally, between 20–30 months), and it can be done FASTER than you expect (most kids get the basics in a few days—but Jamie’s got you covered even if it takes a little longer).  amazon-button

The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers  Getting babies to sleep through the night is one thing; getting willful toddlers and energetic preschoolers to sleep is another problem altogether. Written to help sleep-deprived parents of children ages one to five, The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers offers loving solutions to help this active age-group get the rest they–and their parents–so desperately need.  amazon-button

What to Expect the Second Year: From 12 to 24 Months What to Expect the Second Year: From 12 to 24 Months  From the first birthday to the second, this must-have book covers everything parents need to know in an easy-to-access, topic-by-topic format, with chapters on growth, feeding, sleeping, behaviors of every conceivable kind, discipline (including teaching right from wrong), and keeping a toddler healthy and safe as he or she takes on the world. There’s a developmental time line of the second year plus special “milestone” boxes throughout that help parents keep track of their toddler’s development. Thinking of traveling with tot in tow? There’s a chapter for that, too.   amazon-button

The Happiest Toddler on the Block The Happiest Toddler on the Block  Combining his trademark tools of Toddler-ese and the Fast-Food Rule with a highly effective new green light/yellow light/red light method for molding toddler behavior, Dr. Karp provides fast solutions for today’s busy and stressed parents. As you discover ways to boost your child’s good (green light) behavior, curb his annoying (yellow light) behavior, and immediately stop his unacceptable (red light) behavior you will learn how to soothe his stormy outbursts with amazing success—and better yet, prevent these outbursts before they begin! And the new thirty-item glossary of Dr. Karp’s parenting techniques will save you valuable time when you need to instantly calm an out-of-control child. The result: fewer tantrums, less yelling, and more happy, loving time for you and your child.  amazon-button

Common Sense Parenting of Toddlers and Preschoolers, 2nd Ed Common Sense Parenting of Toddlers and Preschoolers, 2nd Ed  This 2nd edition is packed with helpful hints, sound strategies and difference-making methods that show parents how to give their young children all the love, nurturing and guidance they need to thrive. Parents learn how to set appropriate expectations, teach social skills, correct misbehaviors, use time-out correctly, improve family life and maintain their composure when little ones are in meltdown. The toddler years are full of chaos and challenges. But they’re also a time of joy and wonder. This go-to guide lightens the stress of parenting and sets children and parents up for a lifetime of success!  amazon-button

1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 A well written book that provides the basics of creating a positive parent-child relationship with the tools to motivate children to master the basic communication, problem solving and behavioral skills necessary for success at home, school and in the community.  You’ll find tools to use in virtually every situation, including advice for common problems such as: • Whining • Sibling rivalry • Reluctance to do chores • Refusing to go to bed or getting up in the middle of the night • Talking back • Stubbornness.  amazon-button

The Whole Brained Child The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind  By Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson This book is based on the latest brain research and provides easy to use strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures.  amazon-button

Toddler Play (Gymboree) Toddler Play (Gymboree)  Children are naturally ready to learn, and parents are eager to teach them. TODDLER PLAY was created specifically to help parents teach their children through age-appropriate play that is fun and relaxed. Based on the content of the successful Gymboree’s Play & Music Programs, this book is a “recipe book” of games, finger rhymes, nursery songs, and craft exercises that parents can use to help their children develop physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills. amazon-button

365 Games Smart Toddlers Play 365 Games Smart Toddlers Play  365 Games Smart Toddlers Play will help you make the best of the time you and your toddler share, every day of the year.   Each day with your toddler brings new experiences for them and new opportunities for you to teach, share and grow closer to each other. Bestselling parenting author Sheila Ellison fills each page with fun, practical ways to create and enhance those special everyday moments.   amazon-button

Videos on Toddler Development

Toddler Developmental Milestones

PhysicalLanguageIntellectual - CognitiveSocial - Emotional

18 To 24 Months

Gross (Large) Motor Skills

  • Runs stiffly
  • Jumps off the ground with both feet
  • Bends at the waist to pick up object
  • Walks up and down steps, one step at a time
  • Throws objects overhead
  • Kicks a large ball
  • Climbs onto low objects
  • Kicks backward and forward
  • Stands on a balance beam
  • Walks up stairs with help
  • Runs well
  • Enjoys riding small wheeled riding toys

Fine (Small) Motor Skills

  • Manages spoon
  • Makes vertical marks and circles with crayon (pencil)
  • Turns doorknobs
  • Pulls down zippers
  • Shows hand preference, but switches hands often
  • Assists in dressing and undressing self
  • Can draw scribbles
  • Drinks from a straw

Two to Three Years

Gross (Large) Motor Skills

  • Is constantly in motion
  • Jumps off low objects
  • Pushes self on wheeled toys
  • Runs but has difficulty stopping
  • Seats self in small chairs
  • Alternates feet going upstairs, but not downstairs
  • Kicks ball
  • Throws ball overhand; no aim
  • Catches objects with arms extended and elbows stiff
  • Walks backward
  • Can balance on one foot (by 3 years)
  • Walks up and down stairs independently

Fine (Small) Motor Skills

  • Turns individual pages of a book
  • Screws lids on and off
  • Builds crude towers of six or more blocks
  • Scribbles circles and horizontal and vertical lines
  • Takes simple objects apart and puts back together
  • Uses spoon; spills a lot
  • Strings large beads
  • Holds scissors correctly
  • Zips and snaps

18 To 24 Months

  • Can name a number of objects common to his surroundings
  • Is able to use at least two prepositions, usually chosen from the following: in, on, under
  • Combines words into a short sentence-largely noun-verb combinations (mean) length of sentences is given as 1.2 words
  • Approximately 2/3 of what a child says should be intelligible
  • The vocabulary of approximately 150-300 words
  • Rhythm and fluency often poor
  • Volume and pitch of voice not yet well-controlled
  • Can use two pronouns correctly: I, me, you, although me and I are often confused
  • My and mine are beginning to emerge
  • Responds to such commands as “show me your eyes (nose, mouth, hair)”

Two to Three Years

  • Use pronouns I, you, me correctly
  • Is using some plurals and past tenses
  • Knows at least three prepositions, usually in, on, under
  • Knows chief parts of the body and should be able to indicate these if not name
  • Handles three-word sentences easily
  • Has in the neighborhood of 900-1000 words
  • About 90% of what a child says should be intelligible
  • Verbs begin to predominate
  • Understands most simple questions dealing with his environment and activities
  • Relates his experiences so that they can be followed with reason
  • Able to reason out such questions as “what must you do when you are sleepy, hungry, cool, or thirsty?”
  • Should be able to give his sex, name, age
  • Should not be expected to answer all questions even though he understands what is expected

18 To 24 Months

  • Sorts shapes and colors
  • Mimics adult behavior
  • Points to and names objects
  • Refers to self by name
  • Learns by helping
  • Learns concepts such as size, shape, and weight as he/she moves and plays with objects in the environment
  • Points to body parts upon request
  • Acknowledges absence of familiar persons (points to the door, says “gone”)
  • Points to and names objects in a book
  • Begins to recognize shapes
  • Enjoys cause-and-effect relationships (banging drum, turning on TV)
  • Follows simple instructions
  • Asks names of objects
  • Identifies more objects with names

Two to Three Years

  • Comprehends size
  • Beginning to understand time sequences (e.g. before lunch)
  • Matches shapes and colors
  • Counts and manipulates objects
  • Is beginning to think about consequences
  • Is able to concentrate for longer periods of time
  • Follows simple directions
  • Enjoys reciting fingerplays, nursery rhymes, and songs
  • Repeats radio and TV commercials
  • Responds to rhythms
  • Learns simple relationships such as big and small
  • Invents simple sentences to express thoughts
  • Uses names of familiar people and objects
  • Asks names of objects

18 To 24 Months

  • Expresses love and affection openly
  • Seeks approval and praise
  • Is outgoing, friendly and less self-centered
  • Continues to be easily distracted
  • May show need for security object
  • Expresses pride and jealousy
  • Continues parallel play
  • Is possessive; refuses to share
  • Shows strong positive and negative reactions
  • Shows strong desire for own way
  • May exhibit aggressive actions (hitting, biting, pushing)
  • Pulls adults to show something or get help
  • Tests limits set by the caregiver
  • Is possessive
  • Begins to show empathy
  • Reveals a sense of trust
  • Begins to play next to children
  • Shows emotions of pride and embarrassment
  • May dawdle
  • Engages in imaginative play
  • Tests limits of behavior
  • Performs for an audience

Two to Three Years

  • Becomes less easily distracted
  • Is self-centered, aggressive and temperamental
  • Views situations in terms of own needs
  • See-saws between independence and dependence
  • Wants to do things for self
  • Desires consistency
  • Desires approval; feels hurt when disciplined for actions
  • Is unable to share
  • Wants to be accepted by others
  • Likes to play with adults and older children
  • Is difficult to understand and control
  • May continue to express negativism
  • Has temper tantrums
  • Resists naps but needs rest
  • Has a strong sense of ownership May begin cooperative play
  • May show need for a security object
  • Is becoming more independent