What your toddler might be doing at different stages

This section provides information on what your child might be doing at different ages as well as tips to help you help them!

It is important to remember that remember that children develop at different rates. Don't worry if your child hasn't reached certain milestones that other children the same age have. Keep in mind that development is a journey, not a race.

12 months

At 12 months old, your child is becoming more social and will love going for walks outdoors. At this age, your child might be learning to feed himself or herself and will enjoy sharing in family times.

At 12 months your child might be:

  • waving bye bye
  • saying one or two clear words
  • pulling to stand up, holding onto furniture
  • following simple instructions like ‘Come to daddy’
  • pointing to people or familiar objects.

Here are some ideas to help you support your child’s development at 12 months:

  • Family meals and special events are a great chance for your baby to connect with and learn with others.
  • Talk about things your toddler shows you – they might like to show others, too.
  • Toddlers, and even babies, can start experiencing books very early. Start by reading books with simple black and white outline drawings and encourage your child to hold the book and turn the pages.
  • The librarians at your local library can help you find books that will engage your toddler.
  • Play music, sing and dance with your child.
  • Play with your child on their level – laugh lots and have fun.

18 months old

At 18 months, your child is learning lots by exploring the world around them. It can be hard for parents and family to keep up with a busy 18-month-old. This is a great time to go to the playground and make new friends with other children as well as spend lots of time exploring and playing.

At 18 months your child might be:

  • walking and starting to run
  • saying words and understanding a lot more
  • feeding themselves using a spoon or cup
  • recognising himself or herself in the mirror
  • playing alone, but still liking to be around familiar people.

Here are some ideas to help you support your child’s development at 18 months:

  • Take your toddler outside and look around you and talk about what you see.
  • Try out new experiences with your toddler to help them build their confident – take a ride on a bus or tram or visit a new park together.
  • Play together with books, sand, music, paint – talk to them as you go.
  • Figure out what sort of games your child likes to play – help them to explore these games.
  • Read lots of books and have conversations with your child about them. You should try to read to your child every day.
  • Praise your child when you learn a new skill, like when children feed themselves.
  • Encourage your child to meet other children at playgroup or at the playground.

Two years old

At two years old, your child is becoming more independent and may be wanting to share their interests with parents and family as well as enjoying time with friends and family.

At two years old your child might be:

  • copying things that you do – like sweeping the floor
  • dressing up or pretending
  • beginning to use two- to three-word sentences
  • having tantrums to express frustration or strong emotions
  • running.

Here are some ideas to help you support your child’s development at two years old:

  • Think about things your child could make. Get messy and use different colours, textures and shapes, talking about them as you go.
  • Play together and move in lots of different ways – run, jump, balance and dance.
  • Share lots of books and stories with your child, even make up your own stories together. Be a bit silly!
  • Encourage your child to have a go at doing things themselves and to talk about it with you.
  • Talk to your child about what you see on the pages of books, and encourage your child to turn the pages of the book.
  • Talk to your child about everyday things like a bus stop sign and what it’s for.