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NICU Follow-Up Program 24 months

Adjusted age: measured from the birthdate

What to expect this month

Toddlers have lots of energy and curiosity; yet they often lack social and language skills to know the limits of appropriate behavior. As such, this is a time when parents and child alike need lots of support. A parent needs lots of energy, patience and interest in teaching their child.

Most developmental clinics that monitor babies who were born prematurely stop making the adjustment for prematurity when determining the child's age at this point. We now look at your child's skills and abilities based on the birth date. This does not mean that every child will have mastered all of their developmental milestones at the same rate as their "birthday peers," but many have caught up or are close to catching up by now. If your preemie is still struggling with an area of development, make sure to check with your primary care provider or developmental clinic about services that may be available to help them "close the gap."

Caring for your toddler


Your toddler is becoming much more interested in language and can still understand more words than they can speak. By now your child should be combining 2 words into sentences, but may still be a bit hard to understand much of the time. By the end of this year, they will use 3- to 5-word phrases. They are also beginning to use language to tell you what they are feeling and thinking.

See the education sheets "Speech and language development: 24 to 30 months," and "Speech and language development: 30 to 36 months."


Your toddler is learning about the rules of living in your home and boundaries you provide for them. Continue to set rules based on safety while providing your child with plenty of opportunity for learning and exploring. See the handout "Toddler Discipline" for specific examples of discipline strategies.


By now, your child should be eating with the family and able to self-feed, using a cup and utensils. It is important to provide your toddler not only with healthy, nutritious meals, but also with snacks that also provide solid, healthy energy. You may notice that your toddler is developing preferences for certain foods. Your child's appetite may also vary from day to day. As long as your child seems to have energy each day and is growing well, these variances are a normal part of development.


Your toddler is getting really good at pretend play at this stage. He can use one object to stand in for another; for example, a shoebox may become a bed for a stuffed teddy.

Your child will play side-by-side with peers at this age. Toddlers enjoy watching other children and may imitate what they see. Give your child regular chances to play with children their age to build social skills. You can also help your child with conflicts around sharing and taking turns during social times.


Your toddler may start to give up naps this year. If so, your child may start to sleep longer at night. If your child is making the transition from a crib to a bed, be sure that the bedroom is safe and provide a small light in case they awaken at night.

Toilet training

Many toddlers will show an increased interest in toilet training between ages 2 and 3. See handout for specific suggestions.



Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota NICU Follow-Up Program: 

Children's - Minneapolis 612-813-6722

Children's - St. Paul 651-220-8063

Last Reviewed by NICU Follow-Up 9/2014 © Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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