A baby’s second year – important developmental milestones
Dr Tobias Odenwald, MD Consultant paediatrician
A baby’s first birthday follows a year of impressive growth and development. However, this doesn’t mean the second year will be any less exciting, both for the child and their parents.
With all basic body functions now well-established, your child (who by now is officially a toddler) can use those skills to explore their surroundings much better. Being able to stand with good balance, walk forward and backwards and up and down stairs widens their area of operation enormously. It is time to move glassware and medication to higher shelves, secure electricity sockets and install a stair gate.
With greater mobility and a better overview when standing, children learn about the features of objects through constant visual, oral and manual exploration. They can now use the more sophisticated and useful pinch grip with their fingers. These advanced physical skills are combined with big mental and social developments. Children learn to distinguish between themselves and others better and start to become more independent of their parents. They tolerate temporary separation from parents more easily – an important aspect of their social development and a prerequisite for longer nursery attendances.
In the second year of life children will develop their own self-determined will. Their improving language skills enable them to express this will and say what they want – ‘no’ becomes a very popular word! This, together with possible rivalry amongst siblings and bad dreams or nocturnal nightmares at this age can bring parents to the verge of despair. It is therefore beneficial to remind oneself that these aspects of a child’s development in the second year of life are not only normal, but a very important step towards a more mature, independent and interactive toddler.
And most of these new behaviours aren’t difficult to deal with at all, quite the opposite. Your child will start to:
•imitate and want to ‘help’ you
•drink from a cup and eat with a spoon
•take off their clothes on their own (with a little help).
Typically, children between one and two years of age can play alone for a while. Container games, where things are put from one box into another, are very popular with one-year-olds and help them to understand sizes, shapes and spatial relationships as well as the function of everyday items.
Other milestones typically seen at two years of age include:
•Ability to kick a ball and climb stairs (two feet per step)
•Build a tower with 2-4 cubes (showing hand preference)
•Speak 6-12 words
•Use a spoon;
•Displaying symbolic play e.g. “talking” on a telephone, or domestic mimicry such as “helping” in house hold chores
Later on, children start to learn in a more abstract way through observation. They realise that their actions trigger reactions, including other people’s reactions to what they do or say. At this point, they will start addressing others directly and with intention. This promises a lot of fun for the next year…
Consult your doctor if you have any doubts about your child’s motor, social or speech development, or notice any of the following:
– A regression in development (loss of their acquired skills)
– No walking by 18 (males) to 20 (females) months
– No speech by 18 months
– Out of control tantrums
At +richmond practice we have two consultant paediatricians who do health checks for children Monday to Saturday. They do the work according to the schedule provided by the German paediatric society. Please do not hesitate to contact us with a concern about your child or if you need re-assurance.
020 8940 5009