Your toddler's development

Your baby’s next health and development review will take place when they’re around two years old. This review is to support you and your baby and make sure their development is on track. The reviews are done by your Health Visitor or a member of their team. It’s helpful, where possible, for both parents to attend as this gives you both a chance to ask questions and talk about any concerns you have.

Take a look at how our Family Hubs can support your child's early years and education.

Here are tips to help you with your toddler’s development.

12 – 24 months

Your toddler is constantly learning, moving in new ways, controlling hands and fingers and finding out about other people. They’re growing quickly and getting more and more independent. Here are some tips on how to help your little one to learn, practice and develop their first movement skills.

Getting moving

Your toddler’s learning to move in new ways, so they can:

  • Get around on their own – crawling, shuffling and then walking and walking backwards
  • Pull a toy around and carry a big toy when walking
  • Bend down to pick something up and stand up again without holding on – though it’s a bit wobbly sometimes
  • Start to run
  • Stand on tiptoes
  • Kick a ball
  • Walk up and down stairs
You can help by

Understanding that the world is an exciting place when you are growing up and your little one can't wait to find out more about it.

Making sure surroundings are safe and that you keep an eye out for your toddler as they won't yet have a sense of danger

Helping your toddler develop physical skills. For example, by standing a short distance away and letting them walk to you or by helping them come down the stairs safely.

Realising that just going to the shops is a real adventure for your toddler. They may want to climb up steps or stop to climb on a wall. Try to be patient with them and share in the excitement.

Hands and Fingers

Your toddler is learning to control their hands and fingers, so they might pick up tiny things like crumbs between fingers and thumbs, grasp toys and find it hard to let go. Try to put blocks on top of each other and scribble with a crayon or a marker. 

You can help by

Providing lots of healthy finger foods, so they can feed themselves and giving your little one a spoon to hold during meal times, even though it’ll probably result in a mess.

Taking your time when you dress them and letting them put both arms through the sleeves if they want to.

Offering them paper and crayons so they can experiment drawing and scribbling

Providing blocks so they can try to build a tower and for you to play alongside them.

Learning and play

Your toddler is figuring out basic concepts, so they might help you while you’re trying to dress them in the morning

Use one thing as something else, so a banana can become an impromptu phone

Recognise themselves in a photo

Start to like being around other people

Want to be like you or a brother or sister

Push, hit or bite in moments of frustration. 

You can help by

Giving them simple but real jobs to do, like tidying away their toys.

Giving them lots of praise when they try something new, at this age they love to be the centre of attention.

Playing games of pretend, but not taking over.

Letting your child be around you as you do things, like cooking or tidying up.

Showing your little one family photos and talking about each photo.

Letting your child have friends around to play, but don’t expect them to understand the concept of sharing. You will need to provide two toys.

Understanding that if your little one lashes out it’s because they have strong feelings. Try showing them better ways to get what they’re after.

24 months – 36months

As your toddler turns two you’ll find they’re learning to be more and more independent. Here are some tips on how you can help them learn, practice and develop their skills

Getting Moving

Your toddler’s learning to move in even more ways.

They will climb on a chair to reach something high up, walk up and down stairs putting a foot on each stair, kick a ball forward and throw it overhand, balance on one foot for a few seconds and sit on a small bike. 

You can help by

Making your home safe so that your child can explore things.

Taking them outdoors, perhaps to the park, so they can run, jump and climb.

Going swimming with them – and keeping a close watch while they’re in the water.

Holding their hand as they go up and down the stairs.

Putting on some music and dancing to it together.

Hands and Fingers

Your toddler’s learning finer hand and finger movements, so they might turn the pages of a book one at a time, build a tower of more than six blocks, hold a pencil and draw straight lines as well as scribbling in circles, screw and unscrew lids and sort objects by shape and colour. 

You can help by

Reading to your toddler as much as possible.

Providing blocks and other objects for them to play with.

Giving them paper to draw on and encouraging them to make marks.

Letting them use a spoon and fork if they want to.

Getting them to help you with food preparation.

Washing fruit, pouring milk over cereal.

Making sure anything dangerous like button batteries, pills or cleaning products are kept in jars and bottles with safety caps and are safely hidden away.

Let them practise dressing themselves - when there’s time anyway!

Learning and imagination

Your toddler’s grasping more complex ideas, so they might play pretend games, copy adults and other kids, start to test their boundaries and get their own way, throw a tantrum in moments of frustration, want to play with other kids begin to have strong likes and dislikes for toys, colours and playmates. 

You can help by

Playing pretend games with them.

Staying calm during any tantrums – and calmly explaining afterwards that there are better ways to act.

Being patient when your little one smears your favourite lipstick all over their face, it’s fun for them to copy your routines.

Letting them join in family meals, so that they can learn to enjoy eating with other people.

Get them more involved with looking after themselves, for example, by reminding them to wash their hands before and after eating, and after they’re been to the loo.

Arranging for their playmates to come over, so your little one can learn about taking turns and sharing.

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