Milestones to Expect in Toddlerhood:

What's Normal?

Kylo B


Milestones to Expect in Toddlerhood: What's Normal?

Toddlerhood is an exciting and dynamic stage of development characterized by rapid growth and significant milestones in physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional domains.

As parents and caregivers, understanding typical developmental milestones can provide valuable insights into a child's progress and help identify any potential concerns early on.

In this article, we will explore common milestones to expect in toddlerhood and discuss what is considered normal in each area of development.

Physical Milestones

Gross Motor Skills:

  • Walking independently by 12 to 18 months.

  • Climbing stairs with support or handrail by 18 to 24 months.

  • Running, jumping, and kicking a ball by 2 to 3 years.

Fine Motor Skills:

  • Using fingers to pick up small objects (pincer grasp) by 12 to 15 months.

  • Scribbling and making marks with crayons by 18 to 24 months.

  • Building towers with blocks and stacking toys by 2 to 3 years.

Sensory Skills:

  • Exploring textures, shapes, and sizes through sensory play (e.g., sand, water, playdough).

  • Showing preferences for certain tastes and smells.

Cognitive Milestones

Language Development:

  • Saying first words ("mama," "dada") by 12 months.

  • Using simple sentences and vocabulary (50+ words) by 18 to 24 months.

  • Engaging in pretend play and storytelling by 2 to 3 years.

Problem-Solving Skills:

  • Understanding cause and effect (e.g., pushing a button to make a toy play music).

  • Sorting objects by color, shape, or size.

  • Completing simple puzzles or tasks with guidance.

Memory & Attention:

  • Remembering familiar routines, objects, and people.

  • Following simple instructions and routines.

Socio-Emotional Milestones

Social Interaction:

  • Showing interest in playing with other children and engaging in parallel play.

  • Exhibiting separation anxiety and developing attachments to primary caregivers.

  • Demonstrating empathy and responding to emotions of others.


  • Expressing emotions (joy, anger, frustration) through words and actions.

  • Beginning to understand and follow basic rules and limits.

  • Developing a sense of independence and autonomy.

What's Considered Normal?

It's important to remember that every child develops at their own pace, and variations in milestones are normal.

However, there are general guidelines to help identify typical development.

If you have concerns about your child's development, consult with your pediatrician or a qualified healthcare professional for guidance and evaluation.

Red Flags or Concerns

While variations in development are normal, certain signs may indicate a developmental delay or potential issue:

  • Persistent delays in reaching milestones across multiple areas of development.

  • Regression or loss of previously acquired skills.

  • Limited or absent social interactions and communication.

  • Lack of interest in age-appropriate activities or play.

Understanding the typical milestones to expect in toddlerhood can help parents and caregivers support their child's development and recognize any potential concerns early on.

By providing a nurturing and stimulating environment, engaging in meaningful interactions, and seeking appropriate guidance when needed, parents play a crucial role in fostering healthy growth and development during this exciting stage of childhood. Remember that each child is unique, and developmental progress should be viewed within the context of individual differences and strengths. Celebrate your child's achievements and milestones while staying attentive to their needs and well-being.