Developmental Stages of a Toddler

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Developmental Stages of a Toddler

Kim Wilson-Mister

ECE 332: Child Development

Elizabeth Golen Johnson


During the toddler years from ages one to three, young children want to become independent. “I do it” or “Me do it.” With gentle consistent care toddlers can learn to trust others. Being a toddler can be fun and at times one of the most trying stages for both child and the parents. Toddlers are now developing out of infancy and learning important language, cognitive, social, emotional, motor, and moral skills. These skills will help the toddler’s master further skills such as walking backwards and walking up and down the stairs. When children begin to learn how to walk, they are considered toddlers. This is term usually applied to children that are one to three years old. This stage is very important in a child’s life because a child learns and grows in many ways. The children have their own timetable to master each stage or skill, but once they master it a new stage begins. During this stage, most children are learning how to walk, talk, solve problems, and relate to others.

The first stage of development is language development. This stage is one of the greatest interests for parents and health professionals. Just being able to know what to expect at each age allows parents and health professionals to track developmental milestones and be alert about language delays or disorders. The ability to understand words start at the first month of life, but a child won’t be able to speak until thinking and reasoning skills have developed and the vocal system including the vocal cords have matured. The important part of language development is the experimental sounds a baby makes since these exercise the vocal cords and encourage the brain to use and recognize sounds. At twelve months of age, a toddler can speak two to three words and points in response to words. At fourteen months a toddler can name one object, follow commands without gestures, and prompts. For example; “Bring me the book.” When a toddler turns eighteen months he can speak 10 to 25 words, points to self and can point to at least three body parts. He can understand more words than he can say and knows the meaning of “no” and shakes his head.

Around twenty two months a toddler can speak 25 to 50 words, points to three or four pictures and six body parts. When a toddler gets to twenty four months of age their words increase to 50 plus and can say two to three word sentences. They can now refer to self by name and words can be understood by others 50% of the time. They also can follow two-step commands. By thirty six months a toddler knows gender and age. To help enhance a toddler’s language development, parents and caregivers can talk about too big/too small or my shoes/your boots. Correctly repeat back what a child is trying to say for example; (Child: “Mommy work.” Adult: “Yes. Mommy is at work.”) Go for a walk and point to and name trees, birds, and other objects and show your child picture books and talk about what you see. Also look at the toddler when you are talking to each other. These are just some suggestions on what you can do to help a toddler with language development (

According to Erickson’s second stage of psychosocial development, Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt, if parents guide children gradually and firmly, praise and accept attempts to be independent, autonomy develops. The result will be a sense of will which helps us accomplish and build self-esteem as children and adults. But if the parents are too permissive, harsh, or demanding, the child can feel defeated and experience extreme shame and doubt, and grow up to engage in neurotic attempts to regain feelings, control, power, and competency. To sum it up, basic trust and autonomy grow out of warm, sensitive parenting and reasonable expectations for impulse control starting at age two. In the first few years’ children need to be able...
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