They may be known as the terrible twos and threenage years, but your child’s development at this age is pretty incredible.
At this age, your toddler’s emotions are expanding into more complex ones, like anger, which can be hard for both parents and kids to process. Don’t be surprised if tantrums increase too! “There is so much processing in their little heads, they’re taking the language that they’ve been learning for the past two years and they’re learning how to get it out,” says Lauren Celenza, child development specialist and researcher at the Fisher-Price Play Lab. “Most often their brain is working so much faster than their mouth can process it and so that is so frustrating for them.”
Another common behaviour is wanting more independence. For example, your toddler might want to feed themselves and get themselves dressed and undressed. “You might hear ‘my turn’, ‘I do, I do’ – that’s another big thing for toddlers,” says Lauren. “They want to do it themselves, they want to dress themselves, they want to choose their clothes, they want to do all things.” While this can make simple daily tasks take twice as long, it’s very important to let them feel like they have some control over their day.
Here are some tips for playing with your child at 2 or 3 years:
Play is still a key tool for your toddler’s learning. Now, your child might be interested in pretend play. “They will cognitively start to really engage in storytelling and role play,” says Lauren. “They want to play out what they see, so like if you make coffee every day, they might start pretending to make coffee every day in their kitchen or their play area.” This type of play gives children the opportunity to practise all kinds of skills while feeling safe in their own home. It also encourages and develops their imagination, social and emotional development, and communication skills to name a few!
Physically, your toddler will probably be walking but now the fine motor skills really start to develop. They might show an interest in stacking blocks, holding a crayon as well as running, jumping, hopping and climbing.
At about 18 months, your toddler’s language skills are also firing! In fact, toddler’s learn about 1-2 new words a week if given the chance. Keep up the chatter, reading and singing to help them along the way.
Your toddler may also be interested in playing with other children, just don’t expect them to be okay with sharing yet!
While you shouldn’t compare your child to others, here are some milestones to keep an eye for around this age.
Speak with your GP or child and family health nurse if you’re concerned about baby development.
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