Toddler development and milestones: your 23-month-old toddler

Separation anxiety, mimicking, and being able to follow instructions are just some of the things you might notice in your toddler at this age. Read on to get to know your fast developing 23-month-old a lot better!

They may be headed for the terrible twos, but there’s more to 23 month old toddler development than just gearing up for a phase characterised by tantrums or unruly behaviour.

Though being defiant is a part of this stage, your child will also show qualities worth looking forward to, like being eager to learn, expressing their emotional attachment to mum and dad as well as exercising their independence.

Much like the months preceding it, your child’s 23rd month is filled with exciting new milestones. 

In this article, we help you get to know your 23-month-old better! But remember, each toddler is unique, and they learn and develop at their own pace. 

We’ve put together a teaser of what’s in store for your child’s development as she nears her second birthday!

23 month old baby development

Your sweet little 23-month-old tot will charm everyone with her adorable ways!

Doing It the 23-Month-Old Toddler Way

Daily Skills

Almost-two-year-olds just love mimicking mummy and daddy. This is true for both words and actions. So don’t be surprised when your tot suddenly pretends they’re on a business call, or acts as if they’re preparing food in the kitchen.

They will try to mimic you, or do things on their own. They might be resistant to change, especially when it comes to grooming and dressing, but be patient. This is all part of the learning process.

Tips: 

  • Encourage their independence by teaching them simple chores, putting away toys, sweeping floors, or wiping down a table after meals.

  • Meal times are when to promote healthy eating habits! Serve them grilled chicken instead of fried chicken, or give them dishes plentiful in fruits and vegetables. Do not give them soda.

  • When it comes to grooming and dressing up, offer choices, as well as distractions, to lighten the mood. Foster independence by teaching them to slowly dress themselves. 
  • Though the mimicking is charming, you need to take care not to let them hear anything you wouldn’t want them repeating, like a curse word or “grown-up-word.”

  • When it comes to aches and pains, be observant of their cues. For instance, if they have an earache, they might tug at their ears to let you know, because they can’t name the sensation yet. 
  • At this time, your toddler will soon be getting their 24-month-old well baby checkup. Make sure to list down all your questions and concerns about your child’s growth, development, and behaviour.
23 month old toddler development

When it comes to 23 month old toddler development, it’s important to know that they’re master mimickers and very attached to mum and dad. So adorable! | Image courtesy: Dreamstime

Social Skills

Though separation anxiety from mum and dad is strong at this stage, your 23-month-old will tend to get super excited to see other kids around. They might show some cheeky behaviour, though, but it’s mostly because they’re learning to assert their individuality and independence.

Tips:

  • Remember that your child likes to play beside — but not with — kids, so let them play on their own even in the company of other children.
  • Let them play games that slowly foster socialisation, like chase or tag. 
  • Be very encouraging, engage with them, show them what it’s like to listen intently and to be responsive. 
  • Intervene when it comes to disagreement with peers, and guide them in how to resolve possible conflict, as they’re still unable to deal with these types of situations.

Emotional Skills

A part of 23 month old toddler development is the separation anxiety stage, which is a reality throughout the toddler years, and it is even more apparent at 23 months. 

They might also seem irritable, but it’s nothing some one-on-one time with mummy or daddy can’t fix. They want to feel that they truly have your attention. This is why they tend to cuddle or tug at your sleeve whenever they want to show off something, like a drawing or a toy.

Tips:

  • Praise them when they exhibit good behaviour.
  • Prioritise praise over punishment.
  • Don’t negate them, but instead say things gently, even when correcting them. 
  • Be encouraging without making a fuss if they accidentally say a bad word or act out. 

Gross Motor Skills

You’ll notice that your 23-month-old is starting to stand on tiptoes, kick balls, and throw balls. They are also more confident to run on their own. 

They can climb up and down furniture and steps with little to no help. They can draw straight lines and circles. Unstructured play and dramatic play can help tots at this age develop physically and cognitively. 

Tips:

  • Make sure to child-proof your home to keep your little climber safe. Bolt down tall dressers and drawers and keep furniture away from windows, especially if you live in a high-rise building.
  • Get them a ball and kick it back and forth with them. Not only will this hone their motor skills, it could be a great chance to bond with your active tot. 
  • Take them for walks in the park or playground, where they can explore, grasp, and climb. Remember to watch them closely as they run around. 

Fine Motor Skills

Look closely, 23-month-olds already start to show that they can build cube towers, form these cubes into trains, copy lines drawn horizontally, draw in circular strokes, and use a spoon without spilling too much!

Tips: 

  • Sit down and engage in art projects with your little one. 
  • When reading books, ask them to help you turn the page.
  • You can also start playing with puzzles, which not only enhance fine motor skills, but their ability to visualise patterns and mimic images.
  • Ask them to carry things for you to foster their ability to help as well as their fine motor skills of grasping and clutching.
23 month old toddler development

When it comes to 23 month old toddler development, it’s important to know that your little one’s memory is flourishing. | Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Language and Cognitive Skills

Language

Your little 23-month-old has a blooming vocabulary. They can start to string two to four words together to form sentences. Kids this age can point to objects and pictures, if you name them.

Since they love to mimic you, they can repeat words and phrases they overhear. Because of this, they can also start to follow simple instructions. They can also express simple needs, like going to the toilet, or simple feelings. Quite adorably, they can start referring to themselves by name.

They’re also at an age where they can associate words with events, so do your best to encourage their verbal expression.

Tips

  • Read good books to your 23-month-old. Let them associate words with pictures and encourage them to repeat words and phrases back to you.
  • Show them photos of familiar people and point to body parts to practice naming them. 
  • Use picture cards to further enrich their vocabulary. 
  • Use “I,” “me,” “you” in daily conversation to promote the habit of using these pronouns to communicate.
  • Encourage naming things instead to pointing to them. If they want a book, they should be encouraged to say the word. 

Cognitive

Aside from a budding vocabulary, your child’s memory is also flourishing at this stage. Your 23-month-old is showing signs of understanding the concept of object permanence. For instance, they can remember if they left a toy in their room. They can also do simple problem solving, grasp the concept of time, and visualise objects in their mind.

They’re a little sponge, so make sure they only soak up the good stuff! 

Tips

  • Your child may show signs of artistic inclination. Encourage this by giving them crayons, clay, or non-toxic watercolours to play with.

  • Enhance their concept of object permanence by hiding things around the room and asking them to find it. 

  • When reading books, try explaining further what words mean. Make associations with daily life. 

  • Quiz your child throughout the day by showing them objects and asking them to name these objects.

  • Be very patient and don’t pressure them to remember everything. Kids learn best when they feel encouraged and valued.

Cherish this stage, mums and dads!

But remember that just because your toddler hasn’t hit any of the following developmental milestones, it doesn’t mean you should worry too much. (Though of course you should ask their paediatrician, just to be sure.)

Don’t worry too much about what they call the “terrible twos,” because there’s a lot of good stuff waiting for you there, too!

23 month old toddler development

Sources: WebMD, CDC.gov, Stanford University

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