What To Expect: Toddler Development Stages

While the first two years of your toddler’s life were likely a rollercoaster of changes and growth, their third year will largely be one where they simply continue to develop and refine the skills and abilities that they picked up in their preceding years.

Instead of learning to walk they will become comfortable and capable at a full range of physical play. Instead of only being able to vocalize a few words they will be begin to be able to reason and express more complex thoughts and opinions. And while they previous showed a relatively minimal preference between different objects, environments and people, your child will begin to form some very solid opinions about what they like and what they could do without.

Righty or Lefty?

During this year your child is likely to develop which hand they prefer to engage the world with. Many parents with the best of intentions end up doing their child a great disservice by trying to encourage them to use one hand over the other. Some parents think being right-handed will make their child’s life easier, while others romanticize left-handedness and push their child in that direction. Pushing your child towards one handedness over another can be actually be psychologically damaging, so it’s best to just let them favor the hand they favor.

Navigating the World

During this year your child is also likely to develop the motor skills to open doors, cabinets, cupboards, and anything else with a handle on their own with your assistance. While this is an important stage of their development you should encourage, it’s a good idea to make sure that they aren’t able to get themselves into too much trouble.

Your child will also develop the motor skills to begin to draw and write more effectively (provided they have been able to learn their letters) and they will be able to work with larger and more complicated toys and play sets.

Out and About

Most toddlers in this age group are going to be able to start exploring and having fun in smaller-scaled playgrounds. Walking should be second nature by this point and they shouldn’t be falling too often anymore. Your child is also likely to be very comfortable running and jumping without you having to worry too much about them falling or losing their balance. Climbing skills will also be relatively well developed by this point in their development, which makes it crucial that you always keep an eye on your child when they are playing- both outside and inside.

Making Themselves Heard

Two to three year olds will continue to develop their ability to speak their mind, and will continue to develop their language skills. While they aren’t likely to produce long and complicated sentences, they will likely begin to express themselves with sentences longer than just two or three words.

Unfortunately, during these years your child will be able to understand a lot more than they can reciprocate. This often leads to a lot of frustration among children who know what you’re saying, who know what they want to say back, but who aren’t able to speak clearly and effectively just yet.

Due to their inability to fully articulate their thoughts, as well as due to their budding curiosity, these are the years where your child will begin to question a lot of what you say and do. Be prepared to exercise patience as a daily habit.

Memories and Associations

While it’s likely that children are able to remember events and experiences from a very young age, it isn’t until they are twenty four to thirty six months that they begin to concretely associate these memories with their environment and with the people whom they encounter. This deepening of associations brings about a deepening of relationships, and these are the years in which children begin to start showing deeper bonds and preferences for some individuals over others.

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