A toddler is a child 12 to 36 months old. The toddler years are a time of great cognitive, emotional and social development. The word is derived from “to toddle”, which means to walk unsteadily, like a child of this age
Toddler development can be broken down into a number of interrelated areas. There is reasonable consensus about what these areas may include:
Physical: growth or an increase in size.
Gross motor: the control of large muscles which enable walking, running, jumping and climbing.
Fine motor: the ability to control small muscles; enabling the toddler to feed themselves, draw and manipulate objects.
Vision: the ability to see near and far and interpret what is seen.
Hearing and speech: the ability to hear and receive information and listen (interpret), and the ability to understand and learn language and use it to communicate effectively.
Social: the ability to interact with the world through playing with others, taking turns and fantasy play.
Although it is useful to chart defined periods of development, it is also necessary to recognize that development exists on a continuum, with considerable individual differences between children. There is a wide range of what may be considered ‘normal’ development.