Toddler development and milestones: your 26 month old

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Get ready to sweat it out, mums, because you have a chatty and energetic 26 month old toddler running around the house now!

Time sure flies quickly! Until just yesterday you were holding your newborn for the first time, and today you have a chatty 26 month old toddler running around your home. Your not-so-tiny tot can now string together short sentences and has over 50 words in his vocabulary. So the next time you hear “more milk,” don’t be surprised. 

At this point, your little chatterbox can even recognise friends by name and identify objects based on their shape and colour.

You’ll also notice a lot more confidence in the way your 26 month old toddler now walks and talks. Your little trooper is getting big enough to try the heel-to-toe motion and is no longer wobbling or holding objects to walk properly. So it’s a good time to let him run around in the house. 

He’ll also avoid his second nap, and his average sleep time with be twelve hours by now. That means you might also get a little shut-eye in the morning as he may sleep in late. That one nap is usually cut from his daytime sleeping schedule. Let him take the lead when it comes to his naps. 

Since your toddler is also a little person with his own individual personality now, it means you’ll have to get ready for some truly cranky days. He could be grumpy and emotional at this juncture in his life and needs your patience and extra TLC. 

26 Month Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Toddler on Track? 

src=https://sg admin.theasianparent.com/wp content/uploads/sites/12/2018/06/Baby Milestone Month 26.png Toddler development and milestones: your 26 month oldPhysical Development 

By this stage, you will notice that your little trooper is beginning to explore the world around him through play. This also means that he may get so engrossed in it that he might not even want a break for meals. Typically, by the 26th month, a toddler begins to start performing a bevy of physical activities. 

  • He can now build towers using blocks as his grasp improves.
  • You’ll also notice that he will start practicing his motor skills, learning to run a lot smoother and ever turning corners easily.
  • He’ll be able to go up and down stairs, as well as jump. However, proficiency will come later. He is just beginning to understand what his body can do.
  • Throwing a ball will become an easy activity for your little one. 
  • Likewise, he will also be able to kick a ball now while standing.
  • But his hand and finger movements are still at a nascent stage. So if he points or pokes objects, know that it’s his way of learning these movements. 
  • At this stage, your toddler will also try to get better at potty-training. But chances are you might see some mishaps taking place. 

All of these developments mean that you should prepare yourself for long days of play and running around. You’ll also have to be extremely patient in order to properly deal with your growing bub. He will have a lot of questions and do the same mistake many times.

But your patience and persistence can help him pick up activities and learn about objects and people around him, faster. 

Tips:

  • Your kid will imitate you, so if he’s trying to play football, show him how to kick it. 
  • Encourage your kid by telling him “Good job!” or “Nice kick.” 
  • He’ll have a tonne of energy and loads of creativity when he’s at play, so put him in a room or even outside where he can find challenging games to keep him occupied.  
  • Allow him to play with dough so he can work on his hand and finger coordination.
  • You can even give him small lightweight objects like rolling pins to add an extra dimension to his play.
  • As for his potty-training, be patient and don’t worry about the accidents. Encourage your kid to continue training and if an accident does occur, don’t scold him. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

In rare cases, a 26 month old toddler may not be able to engage in a lot of physical activities. He may even avoid regular play. This could be a sign of delayed growth.

But more or less by the end of the second year, most kids are able to catch up with each other. 

However, if you still notice something amiss in his activities, it’s best to consult with a doctor about his physical activities. He might be suffering from developmental coordination disorder called Dyspraxia that essentially leads to motor learning difficulty.

Cognitive Development

Your growing toddler is learning more about the world around him by touching, listening and looking at people and objects. This process is also more thoughtful for him now. As his grasp of language increases, so does his ability to form mental images and understand concepts and instructions. 

  • He can also solve problems mentally through a trial-and-error process. So you may not notice him breaking apart a toy anymore. Simply by looking at it, he might gauge its concept and use.   
  • As his intellectual abilities develop further, you’ll notice that he now understands time concepts. For instance, when you tell him “You can play with this toy after you’ve finished lunch,” he is able to understand the meaning of “after” in this sentence.
  • At this juncture, your 26 month old toddler is also capable of solving simple puzzles and recognising the purpose of numbers, especially in counting objects.
  • Another notable milestone would be his ability to create a more complex and logical sequence during his playtime. You’ll notice that for instance, he’ll pick up his truck or doll and add another layer to the game. He may keep it under a blanket and then pretend to sing a lullaby to make it go to sleep.

As the days go by, this sequence will become more realistic, and he will continue his make-believe plays. He may even incorporate his daily routine — like getting up, going to school and playing with friends — into this kind of play. This can be quite a joyful experience for any parent.   

Tips:

  • The best to understand your kid is to watch him play and observe how he behaves with objects and people around him. 
  • Let him play for as long as he wants because this is the stage when his mind has progressed from learning about the world to mental ideas and concepts. 
  • You may notice that some things make him angry within a second, so patience is key here. 
  • Also, since he is in the phase where repetition is normal, you might want to apply the same rule to teach him new lessons. Even if he has mastered an activity, you should encourage him to repeat it so that he excels in it. And honestly, sometimes it’s just joyful to watch your child master a new skill, isn’t it? 
  • Puzzles and physical games are a great way to boost his motor skills, so make sure to engage your kid in these activities. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

When you look at your child’s development, remember that each child is different. No two kids grow up or develop the same way and the difference is sometimes just in months. However, in rare cases if your child doesn’t reach any of the above said milestones, its time to consult the doctor. 

Social and Emotional Development 

As happy as your toddler is all the time, get ready for some major tantrums and whining. On most days, you might find a cranky and grumpy toddler on your hands. Expect the following at 26 months: 

  • He may become possessive of his toys now and because of this, he may not want to share his toys with anybody else.
  • He might even become angry and aggressive if he is unable to complete a task, like building with blocks. That’s because at this stage, he doesn’t understand the concept that others have feelings too. His empathy has yet to develop.
  • Some of the most typical triggers of an emotional rollercoaster include hunger, fatigue, boredom, over-stimulation, lack of attention or illness. While there are no fixed cures to these, you may decrease the frequency and length of tantrums with some extra tender love and care.

Tips:

  • If he is feeling irritated, you can set up activities and playthings for him to focus his energies on. If he is whining more than usual, just sit him down and listen to what he has to say.
  • Another loathsome game for most toddlers at this age is “give me.” While you should listen to your toddler, don’t just give him everything he wants. 
  • Instead, give him hugs and attention because that is always better than material things he won’t be interested in after a minute. Your toddler will respond better to these than discipline or reason.  
  • At this stage in your 26-month-old toddler’s life, your attention and extra care can help him develop a more relaxed and calm personality. His whining and tantrums may irritate you. But your ability to patiently hear him out can not only calm your kid but also help you develop a deeper bond with him. 

When to See the Doctor

The only limitation for a 26 month old toddler is how to grasp complicated emotional concepts. He won’t understand that a parent is getting divorced or a family member is unwell. So be extra patient with him and make sure to comfort him at all times.

If he still continues to be angry and disruptive, it could be because he has a medical or neurological condition such as bipolar disorder or oppositional disorder. Consult your doctor in such a case. 

For anything that goes wrong, he may think it’s his fault, and reasoning with a toddler at this stage is often difficult. Similarly, jokes about how he won’t get to play if he doesn’t finish his food will  go over his head. So again, patience is the key here.  

src=https://sg admin.theasianparent.com/wp content/uploads/sites/12/2018/05/toddler 31 month 3.jpeg Toddler development and milestones: your 26 month old

Your not-so-tiny tot will also be able to describe objects by their name and may even recognise pain and its location in her body. | Image courtesy: stock image

Speech and Language Development

As a brand new preschooler, your toddler can now form short sentences. But there is a lot more you can expect at this age when it comes to speech and language development. 

  • He now has a 50-word vocabulary, which means he is learning to form words and will soon be able to speak in sentences.
  • However, many words may elude him at this age. So don’t worry if he cannot say words that begin or end with “sh,” “ch,” or “th.” 
  • It is quite normal for a 26 month old toddler to not be able to pronounce those words with efficacy. 
  • Your not-so-tiny tot will also be able to describe objects by their name and may even recognise pain and its location in his body. 

Remember that there will be two languages at play at this stage. One is the expressive language, where he can speak on his own. Second is receptive, which he uses to demonstrate that he understand you. So keep this in mind when you deal with your 26 month old bub. 

Tips:

  • What matters to him is that you and those close to him understand the meaning he wishes to convey. So try to understand his expressive language.
  • Speak or read to your toddler as often as possible so that he may be able to pick on more words and sentences. This will help him develop both receptive and expressive language. 
  • You will find that he will repeat sentences and syllables over and over again, when he sees the same happening around. 
  • By now, your bub can understand everything you say. That includes commands and questions. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

Every child is different. So while it may be tempting to compare to your child’s development to another kid, it’s best to avoid that. This gives your child an opportunity to come into his own.

However, if you notice significant differences such as not being able to follow any instructions, difficulty in answering questions or talking, you might want to head to a doctor. 

These problems could be due to speech disorders or developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders(ASDs) or cerebral palsy. 

Health and Nutrition

By the age of 26 months, your child is twice his birth-height. As a result of this growth, his chest circumference will be slightly broader than his head circumference now. But there is a lot more happening so here’s what you can expect.

  • He should weigh around four times his birth-weight, anywhere between 11 kilos and 13 kilos.
  • The good news is that he will put on one to three kilos each year along with approximately 9 cms of height.
  • You will also notice that since his head is proportionate to his body, your toddler’s adorably chubby body will start to become lean.
  • The torso will grow and his posture will also get better as he begins to walk straight on his own. He could have easily cut 15 milk teeth by this point as well. 

As far as nutrition is concerned, get ready for some tantrums in the kitchen. An aversion to certain tastes will be noticeable. But to fuel his growth, make sure to provide him with the proper nutrition. Your growing child needs at least 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice, cereal or pasta (or any combination), 1 cup of vegetables, 1 cup of fruits,  2 ounces of protein (meat, fish or poultry), and 1 to 1 1/2 cups of dairy (milk, yoghurt or cheese) every day.

Tips:

  • In order to keep your child interested in the food you prepare, you can try cutting his food into fun shapes or serving various colours on a plate.
  • Alternatively, you can also puree foods that he has never tried before.
  • Your toddler may also be interested to see how you eat your food, so eating together can be made into a fun activity.
  • If your kid makes a mess, let him. It’s important to let your child explore what goes into his mouth. And if he wants to lick and smell his food before eating, so be it.  

At this juncture, also keep a tab on his immunisations and vaccinations. By the 23rd month, your kid should ideally get his Hepatitis A vaccine. These are given as two shots and at least six months apart. If he hasn’t completed his vaccinations, speak with your doctor and complete the immunisation. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

In rare cases, the 26 month old development and milestones differ due to slow growth and even aversion to food. Head to a doctor to understand why this might be happening with your tiny tot.

It could be the result of a avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), where a child avoids eating certain foods. But it could also be because your kid has turned into a fussy eater. So consulting a specialist is best at this point.

In the meantime, you can give extra attention and TLC to your 26 month old toddler. Spend time playing with each other and hear him out. All of these methods will help him develop his cognitive and motor skills faster, and he may even overcome any growth delays.    

 

Sources: Mayo Clinic, HealthyChildren

Your toddler’s previous month: 25 months

Your toddler’s next month: 27 months