15-18 months old

Large Muscle (Gross Motor Activities) This is a very exciting time for you and your toddler! Your toddler is beginning to walk well. He will want to walk all of the time. He may have trouble sleeping for the first week after he begins to walk. You may find him walking around in his bed when he should be sleeping. It is all so exciting to him that he finds it hard to take time out to sleep. By the end of the year, he will be able to jump up and down and he will be able to walk up stairs using a rail. He loves to pull or push a toy. Now he likes to put objects into a container. Give him his own kitchen cabinet with some plastic stacking cups and bowls and he will be happy moving them back and forth.

Large Muscle Activities With One-Year-Olds

  • Try to keep him on a level surface as he learns to walk. After he has practiced enough, let him walk in the yard. He will be surprised when he falls down but he will quickly learn how to get around the little bumpy spots.
  • He will want to try stairs. Just stay beside him as he climbs. Work with him on a safe way to come down. A baby gate is an important safety device for those times when you can't be right there.
  • Play catch with him.
  • Take him for a walk and let him bring his pull toy.
  • Ask him to get his coat or shoes when you are going somewhere.
  • He will begin to walk faster when he wants to go in a different direction than you want. He will try to get around you and go his own way. Be friendly but firm in your guidance.
  • Play simple chase games with him. Blow bubbles to chase.

Small Muscle

Your toddler will begin to stack blocks. He will also be able to place two or three pegs in a pegboard before he gets tired of it. He has begun to enjoy scribbling. Later in the year, he will be able to make a circular scribble and a vertical line. He will also hold the crayon with his fingers instead of his fist. By the end of this year, he will favor one hand over the other. He has begun to use his finger to point to objects. He will be able to do a simple three piece knobbed puzzle.

Small Muscle( Fine Motor) Activities

  • Use beanbags to throw at a target.
  • Let him help you fold clothes.
  • Play a body parts game where you name a part and he points to it.
  • Read books with him holding the book and turning the pages.
  • Let him explore with sidewalk chalk.
  • Have him push the buttons on a play telephone or on an activity toy.
  • Pack sand in a mold.
  • Provide age-appropriate toys like little cars with passengers that he can put in their seats.

Emotional and Cognitive Development

Your toddler is curious about everything. She wants to explore physical objects and also her own feelings. Help her express these feelings. This is part of her emotional growth. If her expressions of her feelings become too aggressive, help her find acceptable ways to express these feelings without hurting others. Toddlers are developing feelings of empathy. They do not fully realize how much they can hurt others. Show affection for other members of the family throughout the day and she will begin to imitate you. Praise her for good behaviors and ignore her tantrums. 2-3 years old can have terrible temper tantrums when they don’t get their way. He may bang his head or lay down on the floor. Make sure the area is safe and there are no small toys that can hurt him around. Ignore the tantrum and don’t give in. They will never bang the head to the extent of head injury. If he has hurt someone by hitting he needs to be told firmly about it. Time out is a good way to discipline them but their attention span may just be few minutes.

Along with a sense of empathy, your child is also developing self-regulation. She needs to have space to assert herself and she needs to be allowed to state her opinion about things. She also needs to be allowed and encouraged to accomplish tasks on her own. She will return to the security of your lap or to get a hug often. She loves you madly but she is becoming her own person. She is also very interested in having a predictable routine. She will know her routine and what is likely to happen next.

By the end of the year, your toddler has a sense of self. She calls herself by her own name. She recognizes herself in the mirror or in a picture. She imitates your actions. She will often play by herself. She believes everything belongs to her. Your toddler is beginning to pick up words. Say the words for objects in your home and outdoors. Look at her as you pronounce words so she can see how you pronounce them. She is a great imitator. Encourage her to use words.

Read to her every day. Begin reading some predictable books so that she can "read" them to herself. Good examples of predictable books are: Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear. Also look for simple books about families and grandparents. Play "Hide and Seek" games. Share toys, books, snacks with her. Hold out your hand for her to share with you.Give her stacking toys and play with them beside her.

Farah Naz, MD - Pediatrics
2459 East Hebron Parkway, Suite 100, Carrollton, TX 75010
Office - (972) 395-8600 | Fax - (972) 395-7119