Pregnancy week by week



21 month old


Between 18 and 24 months, changes in the brain lead to an important toddler milestones: the ability to play make-believe. You may catch your child "feeding"a teddy bear or talking into a toy phone. By the end of the second year, most toddlers show more interest in the company of other children, although sharing may still be a long way off.

Your toddler may begin to carry around items, enjoy push toys, sort objects, climb furniture and stairs and begin to run, jump and kick a ball. He may also enjoy dumping over containers that are full of toys, blocks or other small objects.

He may also speak in phrases and follow simple instructions. He is also likely to enter the “me” and “mine” stage when sharing for him just isn’t fun. During this stage he begins to understand he is independent and aware that he is separate from his parents.
Here are some typical milestones you may see in your 21 month old:

Social and emotional skills

  • Makes an effort to engage your attention either through talk or play

  • Shows that he is nearly ready to begin potty training, although full control is unlikely at this age

  • Is able to understand simple rules, although he may not always comply with them.

  • Enjoys the security of a regular daily routine

  • Imitates the behaviour of others

  • Shows an increased interest in the company of other children.

Language and communication skills

  • Has extended his vocabulary to dozens of words, mostly nouns that describe a general class of object such as “car” for all vehicles or “house” for all buildings

  • Puts words together to form two-word phrases e.g. mummy water

  • Repeats words said

  • Develops an understanding that speech is about social contact as well as communicating needs

  • Spots familiar characters and objects in picture books and photographs and tries to name them

  • Begin to name objects that you point to.

Cognitive skills

  • Begins to use toys for imaginative play

  • Like to pretend play

  • Can put together a simple picture puzzle if it has only 2 or 3 large pieces

  • More focused and determined to complete a challenging task.

  • May start sorting blocks or toys by shape and colour

  • Know the function of household objects, such as phone, fork or a brush.

Physical development

  • Improve balance and coordination leads to fewer instances of tripping over and unexpected falls when he is walking or running
  • Enjoys running freely in the park and in the garden

  • Enjoys playing with modelling materials like play dough or clay, sand and water-making shapes and drawing pictures into the surface

  • Pours water accurately from one container into another one without too much splashing

  • Scribbling without help

  • Turning over a container to dump the contents

  • Uses blocks to build a tower of at least four blocks

  • Kick a ball; likes to throw balls

  • Climb on and get down from furniture without aid

  • Walk up and down stairs with support

  • Carry a large toy while walking

  • Can walk backwards a few steps

  • Can make a tower of 5 to 6 cubes.

Recommended activities

  • Encourage and provide the necessary space for physical activity
  • Encourage play that involves building and creativity

  • Provide safe copies of adult tools and equipment

  • Control both the content and quantity of television viewing. Limit television viewing to fewer than 3 hours per day, and preferably 1 hour or less. Avoid progammes with violent content.  Redirect the child to reading or play activities.

  • Allow the child to help around the house and participate in the daily family responsibilities

  • Use picture books to enrich your child’s vocabulary. Reading books to your child will help with language development

  • Playmates are important, so allow your child to experience playing with peers. This can be accomplished in a preschool, play group or just having child of similar age over for a few hours. Do not expect sharing at this age.

  • Make believe toys: imitating and pretend play will encourage language skills, thinking through and social skills. Toy versions of adult household tools are fun but toddlers are usually happy to use imaginary props or to borrow yours- you will need to check for safety first

  • Role play toys: toys which allow your toddler to be in charge of his world. For example, a bus with people to put in and take out, a doll to put in a buggy, a few plastic plates and cups to feed the teddies.

  • Crayons: wax crayons are easy to grip and they make a mark no matter how they are held. Initially your toddler will grab a crayon on his fist and make lines from side to side. Up and down lines, dots and circles all come later.

  • Balls: large soft balls to kick or throw. A beach ball or foam ball is ideal. Just as with everything else, the more fun practice he has, the quicker he will develop his skills



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