Children tend to start showing signs of independent development before their first birthday. How you help your toddler develop will play an important part in their journey to reaching their milestones.

Learning to relate objects to each other, like where the clothes live, where the bathroom is situated, or moving objects around are all developmental milestones.

Your toddler will really start to accelerate their development in the first few months after their first birthday. This opens up a huge (and dangerous) world for your little person. 

Don’t be shocked or surprised if you notice your toddler’s independence shooting up over these months. This can be quite scary because your toddler will want to explore and this can lead to dangerous situations. 

Help your toddler develop to meet milestones in their life

As your little bundle of joy moves away from being a baby a whole new world starts to open up. The power, or empowerment, of being able to move means your little one can start exploring the big wide world. This means your world will also need to quickly change to keep up with them!

When your baby passes their first birthday they will start to become very interested in play. In the 2nd year, a baby starts to develop their hand-eye coordination skills and this results in throwing (catching is normally plus 3 years), kicking and using items like crayons to draw on things.

child developing building skills

Help your toddler develop by making sure there are lots of things to throw and crayons and paper so they can start practising their grip.

When your baby is around 1.5 years old they should have learnt between 3 and 15 words that you and others can recognise.

Couple these developmental milestones with learning to walk between the age of 11 and 18 months, and you have an almost unrecognisable toddler.

As your toddler approaches their 2nd birthday they should be drinking from an adult cup and will likely be presenting you with an arm of a leg when you dress her.

Children learn vocabulary at different speeds

Language often starts to creep into their daily interactions just before they hit their 2nd birthday. Your toddler might start using language when they play (feeding my teddy or dolly) and this is their way of displaying understanding and confidence.

By the time your little person has their 2nd birthday, they should be able to understand a little bit of language meaning. For parents, a 2nd birthday marks an important milestone in terms of the independence of being a toddler.

As your baby starts to develop their linguistic capabilities in their second year, now is a great time for you to start modifying your baby talk.

Your little person will be picking up on your words, tone, inflection, pace and will look to mimic all of these things as they learn to communicate with you and the rest of the world. If you talk in a slow baby voice guess what they will do?

You will be surprised at just how quickly your toddler starts to repeat your words. Now is the time for caution if you tend to use naughty adult words unless you want them to start repeating them to family and friends (and sometimes random strangers!). My daughter loved calling people ‘poo-lips’ well into her 2nd year!

Dangers to avoid when you help your toddler develop

There is a lot for parents to think about when helping your toddler develop as they reach 2 years old. With new abilities come new dangers. Parents need to provide some flexibility in allowing their toddler to develop. Remember that your influence as a parent should be protective, guiding and supportive, rather than domineering.

Make sure you start actively pointing out different things that surround their world at this age.

Make your toddler aware of the possible dangers that exist around the house. Sharp objects, getting dressed safely, things you encounter in the garden, parks and when they are playing with toys and friends.

Although your contribution to their growth is vitally important, remember that they are their own unique toddler. There will be times when your toddler simply won’t behave in the way you want them to.


Worrying feelings are absolutely normal so don’t be too hard on yourself as you try to coach the right behaviours from your toddler. There will be times ahead that will test you in ways your child hasn’t before.

Accelerated development milestones for your toddler

There are lots of opinions about how and when you should potty train your child as you help your toddler develop. We love our guide but do your research and choose a method that you feel comfortable with.

Your toddler will probably try to use a spoon when she’s between 12 months and 15 months. This will be pretty messy at first because the bones in their wrist aren’t hard enough to give her full control yet. If you haven’t already, you may want to invest in a wipe-clean mat to put under the highchair.

You should keep an eye out for other toddler development milestones, such as wanting to take their own clothes off. Toddlers normally start with their shoes and socks, therefore be ready to ‘let them assist you’ as your toddler passes their 2nd birthday.

Bathroom time will also start to change at this stage of their development. You will be faced with your toddler genuinely believing that they can clean their teeth better than mum or dad! Stick with it and try to let them have their go first!

Offer your toddler lots of developmental support

Your toddler will learn their developmental skills at their own pace so avoid rushing them or becoming frustrated if they don’t immediately succeed. Whenever your child tries her hand at a new skill remember to offer them lots of praise and encouragement.

Staying calm and cheerful will let your toddler know that it’s OK if it takes a few tries to master something!

You wouldn’t be a caring parent if you didn’t become anxious and nervous about your toddler’s development curve. This is absolutely normal parent behaviour but remember that all toddlers develop at their own rate. Some toddlers become masters of certain tasks much more quickly than others.

Research into toddler development suggests girls often reach independence milestones before boys so keep that in mind too. If you feel that your toddler is not developing, or is struggling to reach milestones, ask for support.

Contact your health care visitor or GP if you need reassurance that your toddler is developing at the right speed.

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