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Growth & Development: 1-2 Years

When your child is between one and three years old, she will probably be interested in everything and everyone, especially if it's new or different. She will want to be part of whatever you do. She will try to imitate you. She will also insist on trying to do many things by herself as she becomes more independent.  She will want to pick out her own clothes and will become more vocal about what she want, like and dislike.  Being as loving and supportive as possible during this time of exploration will increase your child's sense of confidence and independence.

Between the ages of 2 and 3 years old, your child will begin to push the limits to see what she can get away with.  By breaking the rules or pushing the limits your child is seeing how you react to them.  She is testing you to see if you will still love her even when she misbehave.  And although it can be extremely frustrating at times, your child is learning that you are someone she can count to keep her safe.  This is why having Effective Discipline techniques are vital to raising 2-3 year olds. 

 How to Support Your Child's Learning Process


  • Read to your child
  • Stay calm when your child is upset
  • Reinforce attempts at speech by responding, imitating vocalizations, and maintaining eye contact
  • Play matching games with your toddler

Developmental Milestones

It's important to remember that development is not a race. What's most important is building on your child's strengths and providing her with support when she needs it. Children at this age need to be held and nurtured often. Healthy growth and development occurs within loving relationships: ones in which children can go out and explore, learn, and grow; and then return to a safe and caring environment.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops
  • Becomes more communicative and expressive with face and body
  • Imitates some movements and facial expressions
  • Develops a sense of security
  • Can identify primary caregiver

Physical Development

  • Walks on own
  • Walks backwards
  • Is able to pick up toys while standing
  • Pushes and pull s objects
  • Paints and scribbles
  • May use one hand more than another
  • Grasps, holds, and throws a ball
  • Climbs on and off furniture
  • May begin to run
  • Turns over and pours out containers
  • Feeds himself

Cognitive Development

  • Recognize themselves in the mirror
  • Finds objects when hidden
  • Understands and responds properly to words and commands
  • Distinguishes between “you” and “me”
  • May begin to match similar objects

Speech and Language Development

  • Says more words every month
  • Uses some simple questions (“where kitty?”)
  • Puts two words together
  • Speech can be hard to understand at times
  • Points to some body parts
  • Follows certain commands
  • Points to pictures in a book

Sexual Development

(Adapted from kidshealth.org)

Many parents call their doctors out of concern because they have noticed their children touching their genitals during diaper changes. Some parents may even notice that their baby boys have frequent erections. They are reassured that these behaviors are perfectly normal and told that even the youngest children naturally explore their bodies.

Many children, especially toddlers enjoy being naked. How you react- your voice, tone, the words you use, your facial expression- is one of your child's first lessons in sexuality. By responding with support and guidance, you are teaching your child that curiosity about his or her body is a normal and healthy part of life.

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