Toddler development and milestones: your 30-month-old toddler

Get ready to be chatty! You will be amazed by the new things your toddler says each day now that he can speak in three-word sentences.

While parents are still grappling with the terrible twos, up next is the 30 month old toddler development phase to set your toddler up to be a threenager.

Although still defiant and emotionally attached, your two-and-a-half child’s social and language skills will take a huge leap during this phase. But the most exciting part concerning the 30 month old toddler development phase is the possibility to start potty training your child, which is a really huge transition from diapers and wet wipes!

This guide will give you pointers on what to expect during the 30 month old toddler development phase. Remember, every toddler develops at a different pace — late bloomers will achieve these milestones when they are ready. 

30 month old toddler development

30 month old toddler development promises more social play!

30 Month Old Toddler Development

Daily Skills

After months of mimicking mum and dad, you might find your two-and-a-half year old quite the independent little toddler!

This shift means that suddenly your toddler just wants to do everything themselves! You might find them lending a hand while dressing up, or insisting that they can brush their teeth (with your help of course), and yes, even washing their own hands.

In line with personal hygiene, it is also a great stage to start introducing potty training.


  • Support this newfound independence by teaching your child simple personal hygiene habits like how to brush their teeth the right way, and keeping their little hands clean.

  • Provide healthy snacks like fruits and try not to introduce too much sugar into their diet.

  • Allow your child to dress himself and be patient when teaching him. Allowing them to choose their own clothes for the day is a great way to foster self-expression.
  • Continue to get them involved with simple chores like putting their own toys back. You might want to teach responsibility, but try to focus on fostering helpfulness instead. That might actually do the trick, because then they can be Mummy’s little helper.

  • What to expect during your child’s 30 month old toddler development checkup: height, weight, physical exam (eyes, ears, heart, lungs, etc), immunisations and developmental screening.
30 month old toddler development

See how much your child has grown during his or her 30 month old toddler development followup at the clinic!

Social Skills

Rejoice, parents! Because at the 30 month old toddler development stage, your child is slowly starting to play WITH other kids and not just alongside them.

But don’t expect uninterrupted catch-up time with other mums during a playdate. While your child may start to interact more and engage in play with other children, some still struggle with the concept of sharing.

They might also be quick to be frustrated as they struggle between wanting to be independent but still needing a little help from mum.


  • It is okay to catch up with other mums at a playdate, but keep an eye out in case your child needs you to resolve a situation.
  • Playing in the same group helps your child to be more comfortable playing with familiar faces.
  • Be encouraging, engage with your child, show him what it’s like to take turns and to share. 
  • DO encourage your child to introduce himself to his peers now that he is able to refer to himself by name.
  • Encourage pretend play and make it funny! This is not only fun but will also help develop your child’s quirky sense of humour. 

Emotional Skills

As part of your 30 month old toddler development timeline, he will still find it quite a challenge to express emotions. Do not be alarmed if he becomes upset when you cannot understand him. Parents might find this phase really frustrating, but patience is key. Remember that your child is probably more frustrated than you at this point.

You might see some improvement with separation anxiety, however, they may start to develop new fears, such as being alone in the dark and the boogeyman.

Changes in routines might mean risking some tantrums. But the plus point through this trying phase is that your child is starting to regulate their behaviour as they slowly distinguish between right and wrong. 


  • Commend them when they are behaving really well and try to be more encouraging than commanding.
  • Hear them out when they have something to say because that makes them feel important and loved.
  • Be gentle when correcting them. After all, they are still learning the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong.

Gross Motor Skills

At 30 months (or two-and-a-half years old), your child should be able to jump up and down with both feet off the floor and go down the stairs while alternating feet. He might even be able to pedal a tricycle all by himself now.

His balance may also have improved and this will allow him to run while avoiding obstacles in his way. With better control over his hands and feet at this stage, be ready for your child’s newfound obsession with balloons and balls. 


  • Ensure proper child-proofing in your home to keep your toddler safe. 
  • Set up small obstacle courses at home with climbing and crawl through areas to allow them to spend some active energy.
  • Parks and playgrounds are great places for them to run, explore and climb safely. Just be sure to watch them closely and remind them to watch out for bigger children. 

Fine Motor Skills

By the time your child is 30-months-old, they should be able to do simple cutting, fold papers, doodle and even name a few colours like red and yellow. Big buttons and zippers shouldn’t be a problem as well as rotating their wrists to open caps on bottles. Puzzles and blocks will definitely keep them entertained!


  • Give your toddler bright coloured paints and crayons to experiment with, and try not to worry too much about the mess. 
  • Be sure to teach them that cleaning up afterwards is part of the game.
  • Build city blocks together. By mimicking you, this will further enhance their grip as well as hand-eye coordination.
30 month old toddler development

Allow your child creative play with colour paints!

Language and Cognitive Skills


At this point, your toddler can distinguish the difference between simple words like “hot and cold” or “up and down.”

The biggest change during the 30 month old toddler development period is slowly progressing from one-word answers to short phrases and getting better at following simple instructions. It is also easier to understand what they are actually saying although most of the time they will be asking “What?” and “Where?” questions.

Despite being mostly loud, they are learning the difference in volume levels and tones. 


  • When reading, get your toddler to repeat after you. Enunciate each word clearly and ask them to watch your mouth when you pronounce a certain word. Read with varying tones.
  • Books with a lot of pronouns are a great way to teach them how to communicate.
  • Pictorial flashcards can help your toddler’s vocabulary and are way more interactive and fun! 
  • Continue to communicate with your toddler during this time. Talking gives them a chance to widen their vocabulary
  • Be patient when they are asking questions. They will be extremely inquisitive during this time! 


Your toddler’s brain would have developed by leaps and bounds by the 30 month toddler development mark.

With a longer attention span, parents can really take this time to promote developmental learning and play. Now is a great time to incorporate simple problem-solving activities or even activities that encourage trial and error. They also should be able to sort objectives into sets according to shape, size and colour.


  • Building blocks and colourful shape puzzles are a great way to teach them sorting skills.

  • Try setting up scavenger hunts to teach your toddler the difference between top, under and inside. It would be a great achievement to achieve by the 30 month old toddler development milestone.

  • Water play with variously-sized containers can teach your toddler the concept of size.

  • Repetition of songs and nursery rhymes will help with memory skills.

It might be a trying time for some parents during the 30 month old toddler development stage, especially if their toddler behaves like a threenager already.

Always remember to be patient and encouraging towards your toddler. Do not compare your toddler’s achievements with his peers. Instead, take it easy, and make things light and fun because everyone has different learning styles too.

Your little one won’t stay so little forever, so for now, enjoy their incessant curiosity and inquisitive nature while preparing the foundation for great things to come. 

30 month old toddler development

Sources: Kidshealth WebMD