Child Development: Toddlers (1-2 years old)

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During this time, your child is becoming increasingly more mobile, and aware of herself and her surroundings. Her desire to explore new objects and people is also increasing. During this stage, your toddler will show greater independence, begin to show defiant behavior, recognize herself in pictures or a mirror, and imitate the behavior of others, especially adults and older children. Your toddler will also be able to recognize names of familiar people and objects, form simple phrases and sentences, and follow simple instructions and directions.

Positive Parenting

  • Keep reading to your toddler daily.

  • Ask her to find objects for you or name body parts and objects.

  • Play matching games with your toddler.

  • Encourage her to explore and try new things.

  • Help to develop your toddler's language by talking with her.

  • Encourage your toddler's curiosity and ability to recognize common objects by taking field trips together to the park or a bus ride.

AAP Developmental Delay Warning Signs

The American Academy of Pediatrics outlines these areas to alert the family to possible developmental delays (Remember that each child develops at her own particular pace; contact your doctor for advice):

  • Cannot walk by 18 months of age.

  • Fails to develop a mature heel-toe walking pattern after several months of walking, or walks exclusively on her toes.

  • Does not speak at least 15 words by 18 months of age.

  • Does not use two-word sentences by age two.

  • By 15 months of age does not know the function of common household objects (brush, telephone, bell, fork, and spoon).


  • Does not imitate actions or words.

  • Does not follow simple instructions by age two.

  • Cannot push a wheeled toy by age two.

Child Safety First

As your child is becoming increasingly mobile, her ability to encounter more dangers is increasing as well. Here are a few recommendations to help keep your growing toddler safe.

  • Block off stairs with a small gate or fence. Lock doors to dangerous places such as the garage or basement.

  • Toddler proof your home by placing plug covers on all unused electrical outlets.

  • Keep kitchen appliances, irons, and heaters from the reach of your toddler. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.

  • Keep sharp objects such as scissors and pens in a safe place.

  • Lock up medicines, household cleaners and poisons.

  • Never leave her alone in the car, even for a few moments.

  • Store any guns in a safe place out of her reach.


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