By around 12 months your toddleris able to copy your actions. They can search for hidden objects and have a great interest in their surroundings.
By around 18 months your toddler is expanding their language skills by naming things that they know when they see them in books or elsewhere.
Your toddler has no real understanding of size and space and can develop a sudden fear of being sucked down the plug-hole or out through the flushed toilet. Don’t dismiss these fears, listen to their concerns and try to explain the reality of these situations.
By around 24 months your toddler’s memory is more developed and they begin to retain more words and actions. They continue to build their memory with experiences. They are concrete thinkers, meaning they learn from seeing and touching which often gets them into trouble.
They may begin to initiate toilet needs. They also start to question everything around them and their ability to communicate their wants and needs is increasing daily.
Your toddler’s attention span is increasing (although still very short). They will be beginning to think, understand, reason and remember. At around 2 years of age your toddler is able to keep their attention on one task and may persist with a particular activity until they master it. Your toddler is using their senses to explore and do.
A giant developmental leap forward occurs as your toddler begins to understand much of what you say and becomes more responsive. For example, you may tell them it is time for dinner and then find them standing next to their high chair. Or you might say to them that you’ve lost your purse—and they’ll go and find it for you. This makes talking to your toddler a lot more fun—but you may also find yourself spelling out words like n-a-p when they’re nearby and can hear you. Your toddler usually has more receptive language (understanding) rather than expressive (talking).
As your toddler develops language skills and learns more about how objects work and the world around them, they will begin simple forms of fantasy play, such as putting a toy telephone receiver to their ear, driving the car or imitating your actions such as leaning on your hand. Imitation and role play are a big part of how your toddler is learning and remember whatever you do or say will usually be copied or replayed over and over as they learn and master details of how to act. Your toddler will start to construct their own identity and begin to assert themselves when they don’t get things to go their way – the beginning of tantrums.
Some ways you can assist your toddler’s cognitive development:
- Allow your toddler to express their feelings openly;
- Help them do things to reduce their frustration;
- Allow them opportunities to make decisions from two choices;
- Help them get involved in their world through play, reading books and helping you;
- Talk to them as you go about your day;
- Ensure they get nutritious food regularly;
- Encourage good sleeping patterns.
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