Toddlerhood is a period of profound mental and physical development. While your child will move through this developmental process naturally, you can aid your toddler in developing the physical and mental skills needed by setting and working toward goals. To aid your toddler in building his skills, actively create objectives and work toward achieving developmentally appropriate goals.
Toddlers, by definition, toddle. During this period of development, you should see your toddler go from taking tentative and awkward steps to walking with relative ease and grace. Make developing the ability to walk in a more mature and coordinated fashion a goal and help your child work toward it by providing him ample walking practice. When first working toward this goal, play simple games of chase in which you entice your toddler to follow you as you weave around objects in your home. As your toddler becomes more skillful, take your practice outside and pick up the pace, having your toddler run and weave around the lawn as a means of both having a good time and developing her gross motor skills.
Responds Rhythmically to Music
In developing the ability to interact with the world around them, toddlers build musical skills. By the end of this period of development, your child should be able to move to the beat of music and engage in simple dancing. Help build these skills by playing music often and, in doing so, allowing your child the opportunity to develop his natural understanding of music and rhythm.
Can Throw and Kick
During your child’s toddler years, her eye-hand coordinator skills will grow from almost nonexistent to relatively honed. By the time your child exits this stage of her development, she should be able to both throw and kick a ball. Helping her work toward accomplishing this goal is simple. Engage in regular games of catch. Also, kick the ball back and forth while at the park with your little one to give her the practice she needs to become adept at performing these skills.
Toddlers develop the ability to understand the emotions exhibited by others during this period. Upon exit from the toddler stage, your youngster should understand that crying is a sign of upset and smiling means that an individual is happy. Much of this understanding will come naturally, but if your toddler doesn’t seem to be building this emotive understanding, help him by selecting books about emotions and reading them with him to help him build a more concrete understanding of these abstract emotions.
Basic Writing Skills
As children move through toddlerhood, they build basic understanding of how to hold a pencil or pen and how to make simple marks on paper. Integrate writing utensil holding into your child’s play, having her color or trace shapes. These simple and enjoyable activities will help develop these skills in your child.
Rudimentary Academic Skills
While few children will leave toddlerhood knowing all of their letters and numbers, it is important for youngsters to develop some familiarity with these foundational academic skills during this period of development. Put concerted effort into introducing your toddler to letters and numbers. Integrate them into his play, selecting toys that feature letters and numbers, allowing him learning to come naturally. In doing this, you can pave the road for easier acquisition of these skills as he tackles them in her next stage of development -- the preschool years.