Growth and Support, Toddler

Toddler development: 2nd year of life

Toddler development: 2nd year of life

First words, first steps, exploring the surroundings, the will to do it yourself – the first words, the first steps, exploring the apartment, playing with building blocks, water and sand – in the second year of life, small children go through many developmental steps. Gaining new experiences, practicing independence and regular outbursts of anger are at the top of the list of experiences that children have in the second year of life. For parents, this means staying calm and being patient.

Linguistic-cognitive development: the first words in the second year of life

It is often the words “mama” and “papa” that toddlers stammer during the first year or two of life. More are added in the months that follow.

There is no single month on the developmental calendar when toddlers start speaking  and what words they learn first. The active vocabulary is between 6 and 40 words at the age of one and a half and depends on the one hand on their individual disposition and on the other hand on the support provided by their parents.

The first words are still quite inarticulate. As the child uses them over and over again, pronunciation becomes more confident. Talk to your child a lot about everyday events. That encourages imitation. Maybe you look at a picture book together and name different objects? The combination of picture and word makes learning easier. Role-playing games and imaginary games with dolls, with the toy telephone or dressing up are also well received at this age and promote language development.

Occasionally your child may want to share something and is not yet able to articulate their concern. This can be quite frustrating, which is why it often  starts screaming . Remain calm and try to figure out what the child wants. It is a sense of achievement for both sides when the child is able to make themselves understood.

In addition to speaking, your child will understand many more words by the age of one and a half and can therefore already understand simple instructions such as “Close the door!” follow.

Gestures also develop during this development phase: your child points at objects with his finger or raises his arms to signal that he wants to be picked up and shakes his head to indicate “no”.

With your support, the child learns many more words in the months that follow and by the end of the second year it can already connect words and thus formulate small sentences that can have different meanings.

In terms of learning ability, children as young as 15 months can understand if a toy has been hidden and that they should look for it. They can also identify different body parts upon request (“Where’s the nose?”).

From 18 months, most children are ready to call themselves by name.

Motor development: The first steps in a safe environment

How quickly toddlers learn to walk varies , like speaking, and develops gradually in the truest sense of the word. First they pull themselves up on pieces of furniture and stand on shaky legs. The first unsafe attempts to walk often follow at 15 months, and by 18 months most children can walk independently and relatively safely.

In the beginning you still need a sure hand, the motor skills develop with constant practice. Step by step, your child repeats the movements until it gets better and better without your support.

During the first attempts to run, the child will sometimes fall down and become indignant or screaming or crying discouraged. Again, parents need to keep their cool and encourage further attempts.


Explore the apartment safely

As soon as toddlers can take their first steps, they explore their surroundings more intensively than before on their own. Now it is particularly important to eliminate possible sources of danger .

You may need to secure closet doors and drawers, and you should also be careful not to leave objects lying around that your child could injure themselves on. Bans are in this phase of thedevelopment calendar still makes little sense, the child’s urge to explore is stronger and it doesn’t yet understand any rules.

Fine motor skills also continue to develop at this age: at the age of one and a half, the little ones can often use the spoon correctly or doodle colorful pictures with a wax crayon. Very small things are picked up with the so-called tweezer grip (thumb and forefinger).

Social-emotional development: do it yourself

In the second year of life, children learn to occupy themselves alone, although they always prefer to be close to a caregiver.

In addition, young children at this age develop the will to do many things themselves. It doesn’t always lead to a clean result, for example if your child wants to spoon up the semolina porridge or hold the glass to drink.

Again, it can put your patience to the test when you have to clean up the leftovers every day, the laundry you just sorted lies in a pile, the drawer with the serviettes opened and the contents lying nicely scattered on the floor.

Or maybe your child likes to pull the tablecloth to see what happens? It may also be struggling in vain to put on the stocking and burst into angry roars because you can’t do it – or because you want to help it.

These are all important developmental steps in the second year of life. Your child wants to become more independent and develop an understanding of what is happening around them. The brain develops further with every experience – during these months of life it processes an amazing flood of information.

Through all the experiments that your child undertakes in the second year of life, it learns movement sequences and action patterns that are important for further development. In this way , the chaos that initially arises when the porridge is spooned up becomes a natural process.

To promote this development, you can allow your child the greatest possible degree of freedom and thus support them in their attempts to become independent.

Age-appropriate toys are important in this phase! Pull-along animals, stackable building blocks , and simple  jigsaw puzzles  are particularly useful. Books with detailed pictures promote communication, wax crayons, finger paint and modeling clay support motor development.

Conclusion – toddlers learn tirelessly in the second year:


  • Additional words are added to the first.
  • The first steps are always safer.
  • The environment is exciting and is actively explored.
  • The brain saves processes for the future.
  • Create a “treasure chest” for your child: a basket or box (beware of sharp edges!) is filled with 10-15 interesting objects that stimulate all of your child’s senses. The objects should have different shapes, colours, materials and smells and can be exchanged at any time. A lavender bag, for example, is useful for smelling


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