Stages of Child Development: Growth and Development During Toddlerhood (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Growth and Development During Toddlerhood

  • The stage of life between one and three years of age is called toddlerhood. The growth and development of children at this stage is very rapid. Children want to be a part of whatever adults around them do. As they become more independent, they insist on trying to do many things by themselves.
  • They are probably interested in everything and everyone, especially if it is something new or different.

Children show development in each domain such as:

Physical-Motor Development

Physically, toddlers gain weight, height and their body proportions change rapidly in comparison to infants. Due to this, toddlers attain and practice gross and fine motor skills. The skills and coordination of toddlers increase manifold during this stage. Some of the milestones of physical-motor development that toddlers attain during this age are:

Physical-Motor Development
Gross Motor SkillsWalk on their own

Walk backwards

Can pick up toys while standing

Push and pull objects

Climb on and off furniture

May begin to run

Fine Motor SkillsScribble and paint

May use one hand more than the other

Grasp, hold and throw a ball

Turnover and pour out contents from containers

Feed themselves

Socio-Emotional Development

Socio-Emotional Development
  • Toddlers show a range of emotions including fear, happiness and joy. They start expressing complex emotions such as jealousy, affection and shame by the age of three years. They also show awareness of what others are feeling and recognize their mental states.
  • They enjoy playing by themselves and/or next to other children. But they have difficulty in sharing toys. Toddlers love to assert themselves by saying, “no” . They want to be independent, yet they are dependent.

Here are some of the milestones of socio-emotional development:

  • Recognize themselves in the mirror
  • Can identify family members
  • Enjoy playing with other people and may cry when play stops
  • Become more expressive with face and body
  • Imitate some facial expressions
  • Develop a sense of attachment and security with the mother or the primary caregiver

Cognitive Development

  • Toddlers begin making sense of their environment rather haphazardly but soon they learn to coordinate sensory information more effectively. As Piaget believes, toddlers show first intellectual behavior and are capable of independent thinking by this age. They begin deliberately and purposefully experimenting on their environment.
  • However, their attention is bound by what is concretely present in their environment. They cannot think in abstract terms. Toddlers at this age are able to think about doing something before actually doing it. At this age, children mostly engage in parallel play where they play near other children, but they do not play together.

Some of the milestones of cognitive achievements of toddlers are:

  • Name familiar people and objects
  • Find objects when hidden i.e.. object permanence develops
  • Capable of differed imitation
  • Understand and respond properly to words and commands
  • Distinguish between “you” and “me” and use pronouns “me” and “mine”
  • May begin to match similar objects
  • Show goal directed behavior

Language Development, Communication and Emergent Literacy

  • Language is the most important tool for communication and thus, understanding the development of language among young children becomes essential. The period between one to three years of age is when toddler understands and use of words builds rapidly.
  • At one year of age, most children can say two or three recognizable words and by the time they are three years old, they start talking using two or three sentences. Between the ages of one and two years, children acquire new words on a regular basis. Initially, they can combine two to three words and then move on to make complete sentences. Between the ages of two and three years, most toddlers learn about 300 words.
  • Toddlers listen to everything said to them and often understand more than adults think they do. They are sensitive to the way someone speaks to them. When toddlers learn to communicate well with words, it becomes easier for them to get help when they need.

Let us study some of the milestones of language development:

Let Us Study Some of the Milestones of Language Development
1 - 2 Years2 - 3 Years
Use many different consonant sounds

Point to and name specific objects they want

Follow simple commands like, “Roll the ball” and understand simple questions like, “where՚s your shoe?”

Use one- or two-word combinations like, “more cookie” or “no juice”

Know a few parts of the body and can point to them when asked

Point to pictures, when named, in books

Use the words ‘no’ , and ‘more’

Recognize, name and pick out common objects

Enjoy simple stories, songs and rhymes

Have a word for almost everything

Use two- or three-word phrases to talk about and ask for things

Speak in a way that is understood by family members and friends

Name objects to ask for them or to direct attention to them

Answer routine questions like, “What is that?” , or “What is your name?” , or “How old are you?”

Follow directions having no more than two steps, such as, “Find your shoes and get your dress.”

Begin to use many different parts of spoken language

Scribble, color and draw

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