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Your toddler's development

Movement and physical play are really important for toddlers. Little children love to move, and learn about themselves and their surroundings. Movement develops and strengthens their body and brain. Physical play lets them have fun, be energetic, and grow their imagination and sense of wonder.

Your 2 year old toddler may:

  • walk and run—some start walking before 1 year, others don’t walk until 18 months or older
  • begin to climb
  • say the names of body parts, such as eyes, nose, and ears
  • follow simple requests
  • try to touch everything 
  • feed themselves
  • repeat games
  • enjoy copying you while doing household activities
  • learn by playing with things they can push, pull and bang.

Language (Te reo)

By 2 years, your toddler may:

  • say and repeat several words and start to join words together
  • chat away to themselves in their own baby language
  • say their first words (usually names or familiar objects like a cup or ball)
  • understand a lot more than they can say
  • start to learn colours and shapes.

Children who grow up in families hearing two or more languages enjoy learning these languages. Some ideas that may help develop your child’s language

  • Tell stories.
  • Talk about what they’re doing, what you’re doing, and the world around them.
  • Read stories and talk about the pictures in the book.
  • Join the public library for free. They have lots of children’s books.
  • Point at different things in pictures to encourage your child to move their eyes.
  • Sing and listen to songs and nursery rhymes.
  • Repeat words they say.
  • Encourage them when they say words or try a new word.
  • Expand what your toddler says; for example:
    - if they say, “Baby cry”, you could reply,  “Yes, the baby is crying because she’s hungry”.
    - if they say “ball”, you could talk about  shape, size and colour by saying, “Yes, it’s a small, blue ball”.
    - You could talk about sounds your toddler can hear, such as the sound of planes.

Talk to your Plunket nurse if you’re worried about your child’s speech, or if they’re not saying any words by 18 months.

Hearing (Te rongo)  

Hearing well is important for your child’s development. They learn so much through listening to you talking, and from the sounds around them. This helps with their language development and their interaction with others.

Signs your child can hear well:

  • They listen when people talk
  • They repeat words and start to join words together like “milk all gone”
  • They point to pictures when asked; for example, “show me the baby”
  • They know several words, and use the names of people and things they know
  • They have a name for themselves
  • They like music and being read to
  • They use their voice in a variety of ways to make lots of different sounds
  • They follow simple directions like “get the ball and bring it here”?

Eyesight (Te kitenga)

Signs your child can see well:

  • They watch everything going on around them
  • They notice things at a distance, such as birds and planes
  • They reach for and pick up small objects using their fingers and thumb?

If you’re worried about your child’s hearing or eyesight, or if they have unusual eye movements, search with their hands rather than their eyes, or bring objects up close to their eyes, talk to your Plunket nurse.  Be realistic about what your child can and can’t do.

An interesting link from Plunket
Here’s something I read on the Plunket website I thought you might find interesting.
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