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Toddler Development at 18 to 24 Months

Developmental Milestones

At this age, your child will probably be ready to begin potty training. You'll know she is ready when she can remove her pants at will, is able to stay dry for hours, and wants privacy when she going to the bathroom. At this point, you are ready to put a potty seat in the bathroom.

Improved motor skills mean that your child will be adept at getting into things that may be harmful, so it is vital that you toddler-proof your home. Keep all medicines and chemicals well out of reach.

You can develop your child's motor skills by playing games like Simon Says or ones that ask her to imitate actions. Games with a ball are always fun for children, so encourage motor skills by rolling a ball. This provides good interaction and will help your child learn to count and take turns. Here are some more fun activities to help your child's development:

Hitting Pegs

A pegboard on which your child can hit down pegs with a small hammer is a good toy for training fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Your child will determine the amount of force to hit pegs and how to hit them accurately. You can also ask questions about different colors: Where is the blue peg? Can you hit the green peg?

Blowing Bubbles

Blowing soap bubbles is excellent training for fine motor skills such as hand-eye and hand-mouth coordination. Your child has to learn to blow carefully to make bubbles, which will help him understand how to use the correct amount of force. Blowing soap bubbles creates good interaction between children and adults, and teaches turn-taking.

Building Blocks

Playing with wooden blocks in different colors is good training for hand-eye coordination as well. Your child will learn to build a tower of blocks from about age 1 1/2. By age 2, the child usually builds a tower of three blocks; by age, 2 1/2 a tower of six blocks, and by 3, a tower of eight blocks. Blocks of different colors can teach a child about colors.

Sorting Shapes

Starting at around age 1 1/2, your child will learn to manage simple shape boards and puzzles. Have a small selection with different degrees of difficulty so your child will learn to recognize different shapes that fit together. A putting box is a good toy for children from about age 1 1/2 to 2. It helps develop hand-eye coordination, as your child has to find the correct hole for different shapes. Colorful blocks and shapes can also teach your child different colors.

Learning Vocabulary

Picture books of animals and objects in different colors are popular with children. You can point at pictures and ask questions: Where is the cat? What does the cow say? Some books allow children to lift flaps or feel different materials, offering a more sensory experience.

You can set aside time each day to help your child learn new words and concepts. A picture album with pictures of family and friends is a good starting point for conversations with your child. Sit with your child and ask, "Where is Granny? Where is Uncle?" This will help your child relate pictures to real people. Take photographs of your child in different routines throughout the day: getting dressed, washing, eating, playing, and going to bed. Make a photo album and sit with your child to describe the different scenes.

Eating and Drinking

From about age 1 1/2, your child will try to eat alone, first with his fingers and then with a spoon and fork. You can have a pretend meal with your child, complete with a small selection of plastic food and child-size cups, plates, cutlery. Let your child set the table, pour pretend drinks into the cups, and hand out the fake food. As you play, talk to your child to encourage language skills.

Developmental Delays

Although children develop at different rates, it is important to keep an eye on developmental milestones. Should your child not meet developmental goals, it is important for you and your pediatrician to work together to quickly identify and diagnose the root cause of the problem. Make an appointment with your pediatrician for further evaluation if your child has not yet begun to:

- Walk and run unassisted by you

- Drag toys behind her as she walks or runs

- Carry toys while walking

- Climb on and off furniture

- Climb up and down stairs.

- Kick balls, scribble, and build a tower of four or more blocks.

- Speak in two-word sentences and have a vocabulary of at least 30 words.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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