The second year of your child’s life is an exciting one. Your little explorer is eager to discover and learn, and their little mind is forever trying to figure out how things work. While the first year had it’s special moments such as the first crawl, first solid feed and first night sleeping through, it’s this year that the real fun starts.
One of the major things you have to look forward to this next year is greater communication. From the age of 12 months, toddlers are becoming more effective at communicating, and while the words “No!”, “More” and “I want” can be infuriating at times, it’s lovely to know that your toddler is learning to have a mind of their own.
Toddlers between 12 and 24 months are like sponges, and often without realising it you are teaching them every day. There is little need for “structured play and learning”, as your toddler will get so much more out of watching you run your day-to-day life. Treasure these days of play, cuddles and exploring, and trust that this is exactly what your toddler needs for their development.
During the second year, your child’s motor skills develop at a rapid rate. They will want to touch, smell and taste everything, and this is a great learning tool. This eagerness to discover will lead them to hit some very important gross motor milestones, milestones such as:
They will also likely hit a range of fine motor milestones, such as:
Suggested activities you can do to help strengthen the development of motor skills include:
Toddlers use a combination of gestures and sounds to let you know what they are thinking and feeling, and from 12 months old their language skills are growing by the day. At 12 months, your baby most likely has one or two simple words (mama, dada, milk etc), but by 18 months, this should have increased to around 20-50 words. By 24 months, your toddler should be able to put two words together, such as “more milk” or “my ball”.
Toddlers understand a lot more than what they can communicate. Listen carefully and their babbling, nonsense words, tones, rhythm and pauses make their language sound like real speech.
A toddler that’s encouraged is likely to hit a number of cognitive and language milestones between 12 and 24 months. These include:
Suggested activities you can do to help strengthen the development of cognitive and language skills include:
From 12 months toddlers begin to identify and respond to their own feelings, as well as understand others’ feelings and how to interact positively. Their social and emotional development will greatly depend on the people around them and the amount of love and attention they receive.
Between 12 and 18 months your toddler is developing their own identity. At times they can seem overly assertive, but this is them discovering that they have choice and independence. During this time you can expect:
From 18 to 24 months, you can expect:
Suggested activities to strengthen the development of social and emotional skills include: