Toddler development and milestones: your 31 month old

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Picky eating, shyness, and a blossoming imagination are common characteristics of your 31 month old. Get to know your toddler more, below!

Your toddler is well into the terrible twos and, much to your relief, it hasn’t been all that bad. And when it comes to 31 month old toddler development, there are key milestones that show how your child’s personality is taking shape.

Physically, one of the most apparent motor skills children develop at this age is being able to run with ease and jump off one step. 

But there’s more to their development then just physical growth and movement! 

Ahead, we’ve rounded up some of the key milestones to expect from your 31 month old!

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

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At this age, your toddler is ready to take part in group activities that involve more physical exertion, like running, galloping, crawling, rolling over, and twirling around. His balance should have also developed to the point that he is able to walk on a narrow beam. 

It is also the beginning stages of his monkeying around. He will want to climb ladders and any short furniture he can get his hands on. 

This is also where you will start seeing more nimble usage of his hands and fingers. He will pick up a crayon or pencil to with ease and start drawing circles, lines and swirls. You can also test his dexterity by giving him a small pair of safety scissors to cut craft paper with. With his newfound grasp, he should also be flipping pages of a book one at a time.

Tips:

  • Be more physically active with your toddler. Start going out to the playgrounds or even a kid’s rock climbing gym, to get him excited about climbing. 
  • Don’t worry about getting your toddler to draw in a straight line or cut out a certain shape. He’s still in the learning stages of using these tools. The complicated stuff comes later!
  • It is the perfect teaching opportunity for you to get your little one to learn about safety in the playground as well as when using craft scissors. Teaching him to be careful is crucial at this age! 

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

He should be able to do basic things like turn a doorknob by now, so if you notice there is slow development in this area of gross motor skills, then it is best to consult a doctor or an expert. 

Cognitive Development 

As your 31 month old’s fine motor skills start to blossom, so too does his ability to recognise certain shapes. By now, he should be able to spot a circle and cross, and he can also draw these shapes.

He also might start to ask difficult questions like, “Where do babies come from?” When this happens, try to be patient with him and keep things simple and straightforward. It is up to you how to answer these tricky questions. 

The important thing is to be appreciative of your child’s increasingly inquisitive mind. Nurture his learning by welcoming every question with understanding and patience.

Tips:

  • It’s time to stock up your kid’s toy chest with role-playing props like costumes and other items they can use to play pretend. It will spur his imagination! 
  • If your child is asking too many questions, have patience. Answer each and every one of them, so he never loses that curiosity! Others outside of home might lose their patience, so be sure not to lose yours!
  • Do you think your child could be the next Picasso based on his abstract drawings? Maybe it might be good to hone his artistic skills by signing him up for a children’s art class. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

At this age, your toddler should be asking a lot of questions and making a lot of noise. If he seems to be very quiet and unresponsive to learning for long periods of time, you should take him to see a doctor.

Social and Emotional Development

He might be a bit shy, but this will all pass — especially now that you can now enlist him in preschool-like activities, such as storytelling classes or a kid’s gyms. As he becomes more social, he can find more opportunities to come out of his shell.

The important thing is to give him space and guidance.

Don’t worry if he experiences fears at night. Soothe him by hearing him out without invalidating his feelings. 

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When it comes to 31 month old toddler development, there are a lot of fun milestones parents can look forward to — like a child’s growing vocabulary and confidence! | Image courtesy: Dreamstime

Tips:

  • Sign him up for fun classes and take him out for group play session as much as possible. 
  • Every moment now is an opportunity for teaching your toddler how to socialise well with others. Whether it is teaching him how to share with others or to wait for his turn to do something, the time to do it is now!
  • Playing make-believe games is their idea of fun. Not only is this a great way to play, it’s a way for them to be more self-aware and socially engaged.
  • In the same way that they use make-believe to test and explore possibilities, they can also become receptive to rules set by mom and dad. As such, they’re familiar with how things are done, like daily routines, and set patterns of household activities.
  • Take things one at a time and don’t pile on activities onto your child’s day. Give them some opportunities to make decisions, like what to wear or where to keep  toys.
  • Your kids can now transition from crib to bed, but there might be some struggle. Don’t make a fuss or coddle them too much by leaving the lights on.
  • It might take time before they choose not to get up during the night to snuggle up between mum and dad, but cherish these moments all the same!

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

It is normal for a child around this age to have tantrums, but if the emotions seem to be out of control most of the time, then his behavioural issues be a sign of deeper problems. Consult a doctor if you think your unhappy tot might have deeper emotional problems. 

Speech and Language Development

At this stage of their development, kids are more assertive, saying “no” with gusto, and starting to communicate with their peers.

At this age, they’re likely to be more creative, confident, and chatty. This includes lying. Though they might fib or tell white lies, it’s more because of animated thinking and not an intentional omission. 

As your child nears his third birthday, his vocabulary is constantly improving. He’s also increasingly curious. Humour him and engage him in conversation. This will not only stimulate his communication skills, but his ability to reason as well. 

Tips:

  • Now is a good time to discipline your child, but using positive reinforcement. Yes, they might be arguing with you most of the time as they go through this “rebellious” stage, but it is good to teach them boundaries at the same time with your language and tone. 
  • Keep them learning with flash cards or different media that can help expand their vocabulary. 
  • Nurture their vocabulary by reading to them. At this age, babies can string words together to form sentences! 

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

Your tot should be able to speak a few full sentences at this point and should be chatty (if not, overly so). If he is not communicating with you, then something might be wrong. 

Health and Nutrition

At this age, your little one might become something of a picky eater. Be patient with your tot as he learns about what tastes appeal to him.

Help him along by providing lots of healthy food choices, while minimising distractions. 

At this age, toddlers require three ounces of whole grains, one cup of fruits and veggies, two cups of milk, and two ounces of meat and beans.

Breakfast Half a wholegrain toast with a tablespoon of nut butter and a cup of milk
Mid-morning snack 1 cup of strawberries (or about a handful) with half a cup of yogurt or milk
Lunch

Fried rice with minced chicken or beef and half an apple  

OR

A tomato sauce based pasta with salmon, chicken, beef or lamb and a small orange

Mid-afternoon snack

Carrot or cucumber sticks with hummus and half a cup of milk 

Dinner

Half a cup of grilled or pan fried chicken with steamed vegetables and a quarter cup of strawberries

OR

Fish porridge with a side of stir fried kai lan and a quarter cup of blueberries

A typical height and weight range for a 31 month old is 85.7-99.6cm and 10.7-17.1kg. 

At this age, it is important for you to make sure your child’s vaccinations are up to date. HepA is recommended for kids two years and older who are at high risk for the disease (do check your family history). You might also want to consider a Pneumococcal vaccine if your child has conditions that affect their immune systems, such as asplenia or HIV infection. 

Bear in mind, these are optional vaccinations. Do check with your doctor to ensure your child’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Typical or seasonal illnesses for kids around this age include the likes of chickenpox, mumps, measles, hand, foot and mouth disease and dengue. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

If your child is overweight or underweight, do consult a doctor on this. During these crucial months of his development, monitoring his weight and height is extremely important. 

 

Sources: WebMD, Healthy Families BC, Kids Health

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Your toddler’s next month: 32 months