Toddlers need a safe environment to explore, play and learn.

Description of Toddlers

by Tony Myles

Toddlers are children emerging from infancy, typically between the ages of 1 and 3 years old. Each toddler experiences this stage differently, from when they begin to walk and talk to how quickly they can solve problems. This is also the time when children begin to assert more independence and preferences regarding their routine or doing tasks for themselves. Throughout this stage, toddlers will experience changes that enable them to better express themselves and interact with the world around them.

Physical and Cognitive Development

Toddlers will grow 3 to 5 inches and gain 3 to 5 pounds between the ages of 12 and 24 months, according to Their cognitive development will increase their ability to think, learn, remember, imagine and imitate. Regular doctor visits will help determine whether a child is above, below or in sync with common development milestones. The UCLA Health System recommends a heart rate of 90 to 140 beats per minute, a respiratory rate of 22 to 34, and blood pressure rates of 80 to 100 systolic and 50 to 78 diastolic.

Motor Skills

Gauge a toddler's motor skills by her ability to perform certain tasks such as being able to stand by 12 months of age. Doctors expect toddlers to walk by 18 months, climb steps between 16 to 18 months, throw a ball overhand and kick a ball forward between 18 to 24 months, jump in place by 24 months and ride a tricycle by 36 months. The developing muscles in their hands and fingers will increase their ability to build, scribble, color, manipulate utensils and copy shapes. Usually by 3 years of age, toddlers will show interest and a readiness to be toilet-trained.


Toddlers want interaction and independence, but their limited communication skills can frustrate them when circumstances don't unfold as they wish. Some milestones in a toddler's language development typically include being able to use a few words by 12 to 15 months, understand simple commands between 14 to 16 months, identify objects by 18 to 24 months and be able to combine words into sentences by 24 months.

Safety and Perspective

Every child develops at a different pace, but all need help coping with the world around them. Some toddlers are so intimidated by animals, noises, strangers and certain environments that they become reserved and afraid. In contrast, some children at this stage might be so curious that they unknowingly get into dangerous conditions if their environment isn't safety-proofed. This is a good time to institute simple and clear rules about boundaries, what shouldn't be played with and the proper way to touch household pets. Also, it's common for toddlers who are separated from their parents to experience anxiety because they don't fully understand the concept of time and might view their parents' absence as permanent.

About the Author

Tony Myles is a pastor and national speaker on youth culture. He has been writing professionally since 2000, has a weekly health and fitness newspaper column in the Cleveland suburbs, reviews for "YouthWorker Journal" and was a featured reporter for the "Kalamazoo Gazette." He holds a Master of Business Administration in adolescent development from Indiana Wesleyan University.

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