What Are The Key Milestones in Toddler Development?

It is an exciting time when your little one is nearing the age to attend nursery. From taking their first steps to getting dressed alone, it is likely that you will start to see some big changes in your child’s abilities during this time. 

Even though your child may be growing fast, it is important to note that all children develop at different rates. Don’t fret if your little one hasn’t reached every developmental milestone just yet.

That being said, here are some toddler milestones that will give you an idea of what to expect. These milestones should help you know how well your child is developing and learning. 


Physical Milestones for Toddlers

Physical milestones for toddlers are a combination of gross and fine motor skills, using all parts of the body to be more active and mobile.


1. Gross Motor Skills

These involve the movement of larger muscle groups, such as the legs, arms and torso. 

This includes:

Walking and running without tripping

Balancing on one foot


Throwing and catching a large ball

Walking backwards

Being able to climb


2. Fine Motor Skills

As you might have guessed, these involve smaller muscle groups like the hands, wrists and fingers, as well as eye coordination.

Some fine motor skill milestones you might be able to spot in your child include:

Washing and drying their hands

Dressing themselves

Brushing their teeth

Drawing with a pen

Turning individual pages of a book

Using age-appropriate scissors

Being able to screw and unscrew jar lid


Communication and Language Milestones

From the age of 2-3, your child’s vocabulary should grow from 50 to 200 words, and they should have a good understanding of what you say.

Some milestones to look out for include:

Speaking in 4-6 word sentences

Being able to state their name, sex and age

Following instructions 

Speaking well enough for most strangers to understand

Telling stories

Answering simple questions


Cognitive Milestones

Cognitive milestones are anything that involves learning, problem-solving and thinking in general. 

Some signs of cognitive development include:

Being able to work toys (for example with buttons or moving parts)

Naming some colours or numbers

Remembering and retelling their favourite funny stories

Having a concept of time (day of the week or time of day)

Remembering words to songs and rhymes 

Completing age-appropriate puzzles


Social and Emotional Development 

As toddlers develop socially and emotionally, you might see them start to act differently. For example, you may notice that they are demonstrating signs of frustration or empathy, which are some big new emotions. 

This explains why some children can start behaving badly – if you need some tips on how to deal with bad behaviour, have a read of our guide here.

Some other milestones you can look out for include:

Understanding how to share or take turns

Getting upset with big changes

Copying people around them

Showing a wider range of emotions

Developing new friendships as confidence is soaring

Fantasy and pretend play becomes more interesting 


Little Angels 24/7 Nursery

We are here to support the development of your little one at such a crucial time, no matter what stage they are at. 

You can get in touch with us here, or download a brochure here to learn more about us.