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Guiding Toddlers: Achieving Developmental Milestones from 1to 3 Years

As children transition from infancy into the toddler years, their growth and development continue at a remarkable pace. This period is marked by burgeoning independence, rapid language acquisition, and the development of fine and gross motor skills. Here’s how you can best support your child’s development between the ages of one and three.

Ages 1 to 2: Building Blocks of Growth

In the second year of life, toddlers become little explorers eager to understand the world around them. Here’s how to support their development:

  • Encourage Walking: Create a safe space for your child to walk. Hold their hands and encourage them to take steps.

  • Language Enrichment: Talk to your child in full sentences and ask simple questions. Reading books and naming objects helps expand their vocabulary.

  • Healthy Eating Habits: Offer a variety of foods to promote good nutrition, which is crucial for development.

  • Independent Play: Provide safe and age-appropriate toys that stimulate creativity and allow for exploration.

  • Setting Boundaries: Teach simple rules and routines to provide a sense of stability and safety.

Ages 2 to 3: From Words to Worlds

As toddlers approach their third birthday, they begin to grasp complex language skills and more advanced motor coordination.

  • Language Games: Encourage your child to engage in conversation. Play games that involve naming objects and describing their use.

  • Potty Training: Start introducing the concept of using the toilet. Look for signs that they are ready and proceed with patience.

  • Fine Motor Skills: Introduce crayons, markers, and paintbrushes to develop fine motor skills and creativity.

  • Gross Motor Play: Encourage running, jumping, and climbing under supervision to develop strength and balance.

  • Socialisation: Arrange playdates or attend group activities to build social skills, such as sharing and cooperation.

Nutrition for the Growing Toddler

  • Balanced Diet: Continue offering a range of foods to ensure they get the necessary nutrients for growth and development.

  • Self-Feeding: Encourage the use of utensils to develop dexterity.

Cognitive Development

  • Problem Solving: Introduce puzzles and toys that require sorting or assembling to foster problem-solving skills.

  • Choices: Allow your child to make simple choices to promote independence and self-esteem.

Emotional Development

  • Empathy: Model empathetic behavior and talk about feelings to help your child understand their own emotions and those of others.

  • Routine: Maintain a consistent daily routine to provide a sense of security.

Discipline and Limits

  • Consistency: Be consistent with rules and follow through with consequences to help your child learn boundaries.

  • Positive Reinforcement: Use praise and rewards to encourage desirable behavior.

Each Child is Different

Remember that developmental milestones are guidelines, not deadlines. Children reach milestones at their own pace, which is perfectly normal. The focus should always be on providing support, encouragement, and opportunities for your child to practice new skills.

By staying involved and attuned to your child’s needs, you can support their journey through the toddler years, setting the stage for a healthy transition into the preschool age. Keep the lines of communication open with your child’s healthcare provider and enjoy the adventure of these formative years.

You can read the CDC's Developmental Milestone Article HERE. During the months of December and January Dr Julie and Dr Mark are offering complimentary Spinal Health checks for children. Call us on 9428 4033 to make a booking and please mention it’s for a Children’s Spinal Health Check at the time of booking.

Download PDF • 600KB

Here are some useful exercises you can use at home for Tummy Time with your baby.


Dr Mark has a special interest in helping recreational athletes of all ages perform better and prevent injury. Correct breathing and postural alignment are critical for top performance and injury prevention and is an integral part of “The Over 40 Athlete System” that Mark has developed. Dr Julie has a special interest in helping mothers and “mothers to be”. Her Post Graduate qualifications in Paediatric Chiropractic and as an ex-midwife give her a unique ability to help pregnant women, new mums and their young children. Yours in Health,

Dr's Mark & Julie


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