Toddler Development: Your 20-month-old

It's time to break out the paint! Your toddler's creativity and imaginations are blooming. You are his guide in this stage of toddler development of his exciting and sometimes scary journey.

Stairs pose no threat to your little walker! Up and up he goes, and with a little help, he can get safely down again as well. It seems your little one is in a hurry and he much prefers running to walking these days. If he's a dancer, you might even catch him skipping! 

Standing on one foot is an important step in physical toddler development. See if your little one can do it if you hold his hand. Balancing on his own is still hard enough on two feet, let alone one!

In fine motor development your tiny tot should be able to draw lines. Not straight and clean ones, but a big bunch together. That is, if you manage to sit him still long enough!

He does love making shapes though, and paint, especially finger paint, is great to practice his coordination. Since children love to paint themselves even more, you could either give him a bib - or just take his clothes off! For an even easier clean up, try letting your tiny tot paint in the bathroom or on the balcony.

Cognitive Development of a 20 month old

Your little one's brain is constantly buzzing, learning new things and exploring his surroundings. As his imagination is blooming, you might notice he gets more fearful. As he is able to imagine things that are not right in front of him, he is also able to think of scary stuff.

Take his fears seriously. He does not yet know how to differentiate between what is real and what is imaginary. He relies on you to help him make sense of his thoughts and fears. Let him know that he can always come to you and be safe in your loving arms.

His attention span is still very short, so even if he is very afraid, you can usually distract him after a quick cuddle.

Your toddler loves to muck about with sand, water, leaves and mud. It's time to designate play clothes! Put him in these clothes when you know you'll be going out and he'll get dirty, so you won't worry too much. He also adores water play, so keep a stack of plastic bowls and boxes in the bathroom for him to play with.

Continue reading to learn more about toddler development at 20 months. Next up is Social and Emotional Development. Find out about managing the onset of toddler tantrums!

Social and Emotional Development of a 20 month old

Children learn best when they feel secure and loved. Comfort your child when he needs it, and, for now, go easy on the expectations! All children develop at their own pace, and whether they hit their developmental milestones right on time, earlier or later, research has shown that by school age all children are pretty much on the same level.

Be prepared for the onset of tantrums. Your formerly placid little bubba may turn into a little banshee if he doesn't get his way! Crying, flinging himself on the floor, screaming, kicking, biting, are all part of this stage of toddler development.

The most important thing is to stay calm yourself. Your little one has not yet learned self control. He needs you to show him the right behaviour. To encourage him to behave well, try not to give in (too often) if he stages a public demonstration. Instead, take him to a quiet place so he can calm down.

Most of the people looking at you will be feeling compassion. After all, we have all been there!

It is hard to understand where the tantrums come from. Often it'll be frustration over things that to grown-ups are not important at all. Other times it's tiredness, or hunger, or too much excitement.

Maybe you are wondering if your toddler's behaviour is getting out of control. One in four toddlers is sensitive and has difficulty to adjust to change. These children will be more prone to tantrums. If you think this applies to your child, have a talk with childhood developmental specialist to find the right strategies for your situation.

When it comes to playdates, short and sweet is the way to go. Be sure there are enough toys for all children, because at this stage of toddler development, your little one has not yet mastered the skill of sharing. A few kids that drop by regularly suits your tot better than big, festive gatherings.

Speech and Language of a 20 month old

15 woorden, houdt van kinderliedjes, stelt vragen, notice no pronouns because tricky Jenny want juice Baby throw, dogs for all animals,

The average toddler knows and speaks 15 words at 20 months, but the average toddler does not exist! So look at your little one, and follow his lead. If you do worry, speak with your paediatrician.

Your tike might be beginning to ask questions, with the upwards inflection at the end of the sentence. He might be even saying two word sentences, such as "baby milk" or "ball throw". You might notice he prefers words and names to pronouns, and calls himself "baby" or by his own name. This is because pronouns are still tricky to manage, whereas words like "mummy" and "daddy" and "baby" are clearly defined.

Tips for Parents of a 20 month old

All children develop at their own pace. Some are placid little angels, some are little whirling dervishes. Some toddlers speak in whole sentences, other toddlers still prefer sign language.

None of this is any indication for their future development or education. It is often said that Einstein did not begin speaking until three years old! Have a look at our articles on toddler development at 12, 18 and 24 months to find out more about early warning signals. But if you are concerned, make sure to consult your paediatrician.

Your toddler’s previous month: 19 months

Your toddler’s next month: 21 months

Do you have questions on this 20 month old toddler development guide? Share with us in the comments!