2 - 3 years physical development
With your toddler now much more physically able, he’ll want to explore the outer limits of his abilities. He’ll love to climb, jump and run – often in a direction opposite to you! But his new-found confidence will also mean that he is at a higher risk of accidents as he doesn’t understand when he should stop.
Developmental milestones include:
At 2 ½ years:
- he can run smoothly
- he can climb on and off play equipment
- he can self-feed using a spoon and drink from a cup
- he can softly kick a large ball, though often not in the intended direction
- he can walk up stairs
- he can throw a large ball in the intended direction
- He can undress himself and is beginning to learn how to dress himself
By 3 years:
- he can independently walk up and down stairs
- he can pedal a ride-on toy such as a bike
- he can balance and walk on tippy-toe
- he can kick a ball with force
- he can throw a ball, and attempt to catch one, with two hands
- he has begun toilet training – although some toddlers won’t attempt it until they are close to 4 years
- he can self-feed using a spoon and fork
What can I do to encourage his physical development?
- Introduce toys for stacking, threading and pulling apart – blocks, simple jigsaws, beads (make sure that they are large enough that they won’t pose a choking threat) toy cars, animals and dolls.
- Give him plenty of time to play outdoors – take him to the local park to play on the swings and slippery dip, or the beach to dig in the sand, or your garden for kicking a ball and water play
- Allow him to explore his world, but remember that he doesn’t know how to keep himself safe.
Signs that suggest a developmental problem in a 2-3 year old:
- he can’t run smoothly
- he isn’t able to walk up stairs or climb up onto low furniture
- he is markedly more or less active than his peers
- he can’t feed himself using a spoon
All children are different and develop at different rates, so don’t be overly concerned if your toddler is acquiring new skills at a different rate to those around him. But if you are worried about his development or it seems to have stalled or be going backwards, talk to a health professional.
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