These skills tend to be quite variable. But at this age the typical child:
- Walks fast, walks up stairs with one hand held and walks backward.
- Sits in a small chair, climbs onto an adult chair.
- Kicks and throws a ball.
- Stacks three or four blocks, puts rings on a cone and dumps them then tries again.
- Turns pages in a book, looks selectively at pictures and names some objects.
- Uses a vocabulary of four to ten words with specificity.
- Understands and follows some simple directions.
- Points to body parts on request.
- Pulls a toy.
- Feeds self, uses a spoon and holds/drinks from a cup.
- Dumps a raisin from a bottle without being shown how to do it.
- Holds and shows affection toward a doll or stuffed animal.
- May use a household toy (telephone) appropriately.
- Puckers lips and kisses parent.
Injury prevention is proactive. Consider the following:
- Use appropriate car restraints.
- Ensure stair and window safety.
- Supervise all play near street or in driveway.
- Never leave child unattended in car or alone in house.
- Guard against falls.
- Never leave a toddler unsupervised near water (pools, bathtubs, wells or bathrooms).
- Guard against electrical injury by using socket covers, cord retracters.
- Knowing how to "swim" does not make a toddler "water-safe."
- Avoid serving food that your child can choke on (nuts, gum, popcorn).
These activities provide good examples for modeling important skills and encourage your child to grow in a healthy and happy way:
- Read with your child and discuss picture books.
- Talk at the table during meals.
- Have your child play with interactive toys such as ones they can push or musical toys.
- Provide age-appropriate peers for playing.
- Provide space and encouragement for physical activity.
- Limit television.
- Offer praise.
- Show affection, affirm your child with both words and touch throughout the day.
- Establish a bedtime ritual.
Health maintenance is essential to a child's well-being:
- Brush teeth twice a day with water. Avoid fluoridated toothpaste at this age.
- Perform frequent hand washing.
- Don't share cups, toothbrushes or eating utensils.
Good nutrition is essential to a growing body. Tips include:
- Encourage regular family gatherings and conversation at meals.
- Discourage unhealthy snacks.
- Likes and dislikes change rapidly and dramatically.
- May eat one good meal a day.
- Mealtime should not be battle time.
- Continue fluoride supplementation if appropriate.
- Childhood behavior may go from one extreme to another. This age is no exception:
- Allow your child to make some simple choices.
- Parents should agree on expectations and management.
- Set limits.
- Follow through consistently.
- Reinforce self-care and self-expression.
- Praise good work and independence.
- Self-comforting behaviors such as thumb-sucking, masturbation or use of a favorite toy is a natural way of handling tension and stress.
- Night fears occur.
- Naps may decrease.
The following items may be useful:
- Clark, Jean Illsloy. Self-esteem, A Family Affair
- Ginott, Chaim G. Between Parent and Child
- Gordon, Thomas. Parent Effectiveness Training. McKay, 1970.
- Mitchell, Grace. A Very Practical Guide to Discipline With Young Children. Telshare Publ., Inc. MA, 1982.
- Sears, William. Creative Parenting. Dodd, 1983.