Child Development:
Your Growing Toddler 18-24 months

Going on Two
When your toddler is one-and-a-half-years-old, you may start to notice that his baby fat is beginning to disappear. He is beginning to look more like a small child than a big baby. And now that he has mastered the art of walking, he will probably be running everywhere he can.

As her second birthday looms on the horizon, your toddler will learn how to balance on one foot and jump. However, she may need some help in the jumping department; getting both feet off the ground is not as easy at it seems. A large bouncing ball that she can sit on can help her practice and get the feel of lifting her feet up at the same time.

By the time your toddler is two years old, he will be able to go up the stairs by himself but he’ll still require your assistance to get back down. He will also be able to help when you read together by turning the pages for you. He may also get a kick of screwing on and off the lids to jars, so make sure there’s nothing dangerous for him to get his hands on. Electronics will be especially entertaining for your toddler by this time. He will just love how the press of a button makes the television show pictures and make noise while another press of the button will make the television blank and quiet again.

That Second Year
You may have noticed that your toddler’s appetite has gotten smaller lately. That’s because her height and weight growth has slowed down considerably over the last year so she doesn’t need as much fuel as she once did. And although she is only two years old, her head is almost at its full adult size.

Thanks to their improved dexterity, your toddler will probably be able to dress himself by now. To help their finger and hand coordination, you may want to put a dress-up trunk in his room filled with lots of clothes he can put on and take off.

Other things he can now do because of his enhanced fine motor skills include scribbling, feeding himself, brushing his own teeth (with some help, of course) and other grooming activities like brushing his hair. And his strong need for independence means he will more often than not insist he do these activities.

Signs of Trouble
Here are some things that you might want to look out for and book an appointment with your toddler’s pediatrician if you notice any of these problems with your toddler. You may also want to read more on developmental milestones.

- By 18-months your toddler still isn’t walking. Although he could just be a late bloomer, it may be a good idea to have a chat with your pediatrician.
- Your toddler is walking but is always walking on his toes. Some toe walking is normal, but an apparent inability to walk flat-footed is not.
- Your toddler’s limbs seem stiff all the time (i.e. appears to have troubles moving head) or, alternatively, they seem loose and floppy (i.e. little resistance when you move her legs; she has troubles with balance or coordination).
- Marked clumsiness. Although it’s very normal for toddlers to bump into things and fall down, more serious bumps and falls could signal a variety of problems.
- Unusual involuntary movement (i.e. a tic or tremor).
- An older toddler who has troubles holding and using objects (i.e. stacking blocks).
- Consistent rejection of particular types of food or excessive drooling while eating.
- Regression of motor skills. This is not the same as regressive behavior in reaction to a new situation, like a new sibling. Rather, this type of regression refers to a toddler who suddenly loses her ability to do something. This should be investigated right away.

Learn more about toddler development in our toddler forum.