Milestones: 13 to 24 months

Milestones: 13 to 24 months

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As you learn what milestones your toddler is likely to master this year, keep in mind that this is only a guideline. Each child is unique and develops at his own pace. There's a wide range of what's considered normal, and you probably don't need to be concerned unless you notice one of the red flags described below.


In his second year, your toddler will grow confident on his feet: Those first wobbly steps set him on course to walk by himself, go up and down stairs, stand on his tiptoes, kick a ball, and maybe even run by the time he turns 2.

He'll also become quite the climber, scrambling onto sofas and chairs.

His language skills are growing, though he understands more than he can express. By 18 months, he can say at least several single words, and by 24 months he uses words in short phrases and sentences.

He quickly picks up new words from the books you read aloud to him and from hearing everyday conversations. He can follow two-step directions, such as "Pick up your book and bring it to me."

Your toddler is starting to identify shapes and colors. He scribbles with a crayon, builds towers of four or more blocks, throws a ball, and enjoys filling and emptying containers. You might notice the first signs that indicate whether he'll be left- or right-handed.

Your toddler wants to do everything himself: Get his clothes on and off, feed himself with a cup and utensils, and wash his hands. "I do it!" may even be your toddler's first phrase.

He might start to show interest in learning how to use a toilet. He'll have fun imitating you by talking on a play phone, "feeding" a doll, or pretending to drive a car.

Separation anxiety peaks midyear, and by 24 months he'll be more comfortable playing alongside other children and spending time with other caregivers. Meanwhile, he'll grow increasingly independent – and possibly defiant.

Your role

Foster his verbal skills by putting feelings into words, posing questions, talking about the books you read together, asking his opinion, and answering his questions about the world around him. Start teaching him letters and numbers.

Be careful not to scold him for using words incorrectly – just correctly rephrase what he said. When he points to something he wants, prompt him to ask for it instead. Practice identifying the parts of his body and naming familiar objects.

Encourage pretend play with dolls and play food. Ask him to help sort toys by putting them in similar categories, such as red toys or soft toys. Let him practice feeding himself with a cup and utensils.

Make sure he gets plenty of time outside. Take him the park, playground, or zoo to walk, run, and freely explore.

Continue to reinforce good behavior with praise and attention. Set simple and clear limits and follow through with consequences calmly and consistently. Give your toddler this or that options and allow him to make choices. Be patient and positive, and remember that he's only just beginning to learn how to control and express himself.

As he gains new skills, take a fresh look around your home and adjust your childproofing strategy so he can explore freely and safely.

Red flags

Each child develops at his own pace, but talk to your child's doctor if your toddler:

  • Can't walk by 18 months
  • Doesn't understand the use of everyday objects
  • Doesn't speak at least six words by 18 months or two-word sentences by 24 months
  • Doesn't imitate words and actions
  • Doesn't follow simple instructions
  • Loses skills he previously had

Go to the next stage: 25 to 36 months

Go to the previous stage: 7 to 12 months

Watch the video: Child Development: Your Child at 24 Months (June 2022).