1 – 2 years physical development

Once your toddler is up and walking, parenting gets a whole lot more challenging and you and your home will never be the same again. Small children have no respect for possessions and so, no matter how many times you may ask him not to twiddle the stereo knobs, he’ll still go back every day to give it a try. So pack up your precious breakables and move expensive electronic items (and their remote controls!) out of his reach. And then make peace with the fact that you can’t keep a pristine house with a slightly grubby toddler invading every room.

Your toddler will want to test his boundaries in his physical life as well as his social life, so try to create a safe space for him to explore freely but don’t let him get too far from you.

Developmental milestones include:

By 12 months:

  • he can use his feet to push himself along on a ride-on.

By 15 months:

  • he can walk without assistance, though he will have his feet wide apart and his arms up to aid balance
  • he can move from sitting to standing by using his hands to push himself up and stand up from sitting by using his hands

By 18 months:

  • he can push a wheeled toy in front of himself
  • he has mastered the pincer grip and can now pick up small objects
  • he can build a tower
  • he can climb up onto low furniture such as chairs, coffee tables and lounges
  • he can scribble on paper
  • he can drink from a cup without needing help

By two years:

  • he can take off an article of clothing
  • he can get up off the floor without having to use his hands
  • he can pull a toy by walking backwards
  • he can run in a direction with accuracy and stop when he needs to
  • most toddlers can walk down stairs while holding onto the banister by placing both feet on each step
  • he can push buttons and turn knobs

What can I do to encourage his physical development?

  • Invest in some toys with knobs and buttons. These may save your remote control from misuse!
  • Introduce him to stacking and connecting toys. Duplo (Junior Lego) is usually popular as are stacking cups and hammer and peg sets.
  • Four-wheeled riding toys are great at this age. Not only will this encourage his co-ordination, it will also burn off excess energy.

Signs that suggest a developmental problem in a 1-2 year old:

  • he isn’t yet walking
  • he’s not walking steadily, especially if he has a limp
  • he can’t hold a spoon with enough purpose get food into his mouth
  • he can’t pick up small objects with a pincer grip

All children are different and develop at different rates, so don’t be overly concerned if your toddler is acquiring new skills at a different rate to those around him. But if you are worried about his development or it seems to have stalled or be going backwards, talk to a health professional.

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This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot New Zealand.

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