Your toddler is about to embark on many milestones as a newbie to the toddler world! Many physical and cognitive milestones will start to unfold throughout the next year. Your child will reach each milestone in his own time. One child may be secure in one skill while another child may just be starting to develop this skill. It is important not to compare your child to others. (Although that is much easier said than done…especially with your first child!) As always, if you are concerned, talk to your pediatrician.
A Few Toddler Milestones
Milestone #1: Clap Hands
Most toddlers will start clapping at 12-13 months. This milestone develops hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills. Clap for celebrations and encourage your child to participate. Soon, your child will be playing patty-cake with you!
Milestone #2: Taking A Few Steps
Most toddlers will be able to do this around 14-15 months. This is one of the biggest milestones to celebrate! Your child will officially be a toddler at this point. Give your child many opportunities to stand and walk behind toys to move towards independent steps.
Milestone #3: Drink from Non Sippy Cup
Most toddlers will be able to do this around 17 months. This skill means that your child is mastering muscles in his mouth, as well as fine motor skills and coordination. Your child does not have to switch to a regular cup for good, but give your child several opportunities to practice this skill.
Milestone #4: Laugh at Funny Things
Toddlers will start doing this around 17 months. I am sure your child has been laughing with you for several months, but your child will start laughing at things that are actually funny. This is fun! Put a bowl on your head and let it fall off. Hilarious, right?! Your child will sure think so!
Milestone #5: Say 10 Words
Most toddlers will be able to say 10 words around 17-18 months. To encourage your child’s vocabulary, talk to them about everything you are doing and see. Point to the things and state the name of the object. Ask your child simple questions: “What is that?”–while pointing to a dog. Soon your child will be saying several words and before you know it, they will be speaking in small sentences.
Milestone #6: Imitate Behaviors
Toddlers may start imitating behaviors around 18-20 months. This is SO fun! When your child picks up a phone and pretends to talk on the phone or feed a stuffed animal with a spoon, you will know they are understanding how things work in the world.
Milestone #7: Dance
Most toddlers will start to dance around 18-20 months. Watching a toddler dance is the cutest thing ever!! And their booty shake will get more complex over time, showing improvement in coordination, gross motor skills, and physical strength. Turn up the music and dance-dance-dance!
Milestone #8: Taking Off Clothing
Toddlers will start to do this around 20-22 months. This is a huge step towards independence. Encourage your child’s self-help skills. It will soon take a job off of your plate!
Milestone #9: Set Simple Goals
Your toddler will start setting goals around 20-22 months. Your child will soon start to make decisions of what they want to do and how they want to do it. You may not always like these decisions, but this skill shows cognitive development. Make the most of it…if your child touches hot sand, explain that the sand is hot and ask how they can make it wet and cool. Your child may come up with putting water in a bucket and dumping cool water on the hot sand.
Show Awareness of Your Approval
Your child will start to develop this skill around 22-24 months. This skill shows that your child is developing empathy. They are starting to care about others and learn to live with limits. Encourage this skill by setting simple rules for your child such as cleaning up after play time. Afterward, celebrate with your child by clapping.
Remember, these are guidelines. All children develop at different paces. Encourage and celebrate each milestone as your child toddles through their toddler years.