Growth and Support, Toddler

Toddler development: 3 years of age

Toddler development: 3 years of age

What is the development of the toddler in the third year of life? A question that cannot be answered in general, because the level of development is not the same for every two-year-old child.

Language support, vocabulary, creativity and fears

The level of development depends on the individual predisposition of the individual child, but also on previous support from the parents.

Nevertheless it is possible notice a trend in the development calendar of small children for the third year of life: language and fine motor skills in particular develop.

Language development in the third year of life

By the age of 24 months, small children are already happily articulating up to 200 words, some of them forming small sentences of two or even more words. They sometimes understand more than 1000 words, like to talk to themselves a lot and can give instructions like “Can you bring me the book, please?” follow. You can name objects and actions and try to make yourself understood by parents and other people.

Among other things, this is due to the psychological development, because the child is increasingly aware of himself in the third year of life. Can’t make himself understood because he doesn’t have the words, or will Not giving in to desires, outbursts of anger are a possible consequence. During this time, it is important on the one hand to respond to the child and to support it, but on the other hand to show it its limits.

Linguistic support

Communication is important for the child. In the third year of life, it learns to formulate longer sentences and its vocabulary expands continuously. By talking a lot with the toddler, his abstract thinking develops: he learns to distinguish between singular and plural and to recognize temporal and spatial relationships.

As the language develops, the ability to differentiate becomes more refined. Properties are assigned to objects. The child’s love of experimenting makes it easier to playfully explain the difference between above and below, in front of and behind, larger and smaller or longer and shorter.

The child in its third year may not yet be able to understand all the complex connections and to form grammatically correct sentences – the more you talk to him and explain to him, the easier it will be for the child later. The foundation stone is now being laid.

Keep in mind that children can react dismissively to too many questions, especially if they do not yet have a large vocabulary themselves. In this case, it helps to comment on your child’s game and simply tell something in understandable words. This stimulates the child to speak without pressure.

movement and play

As soon as the first steps succeed, small children can hardly be stopped. By the third year of life, the child walks confidently, avoiding obstacles. It climbs on furniture and up and down stairs (with both feet on the same step). It can jump, tiptoe, and throw balls, but not yet catch them.


As for his hands, one hand is preferred for fine motor activities. It can draw lines and circles with pencils and build a tower with building blocks. He also likes to experiment with buttons and knobs on the stereo system. The movement sequences still look awkward at times, and everything doesn’t always work as intended.

One of the developmental steps in the third year of life is the strengthening of movement sequences. The more often a movement is repeated, the better the fine motor skills develop: muscles are strengthened, the nervous system becomes more stable, sense of balance and coordination become more balanced.

Encourage your child to repeat movement sequences through games and fun, especially if something doesn’t work right away. Kids love the challenges of gross and fine motor activities!

Wheeled vehicles such as a tricycle are very popular with children of this age and promote balance and coordination.


The interest in role-playing games also continues to develop. So the little ones like to feed their teddy or put their doll to bed. In addition to playing individually, the children now also enjoy watching other children play.


Promote creativity and independence

Small children are usually very keen to experiment and want to do a lot themselves. Positive reinforcement helps them to do this, and there should also be sufficient opportunities to gain their own experiences.

Little ones begin to dress themselves and are happy to help others, but only when it aligns with their own interests. In addition, they can already eat independently with a spoon and begin to use a fork.

In terms of cleanliness , the child is also making progress. The perception of when to empty the bladder or bowel need to be refined. Keep encouraging them to use the potty – every sense of achievement increases self-confidence and independence. But don’t put any pressure on it, because that can have the opposite effect.


With increasing self-awareness and refined perception of the environment, fears can arise . It is now important not to foment them.

For example, if the child is afraid of the dark and wants to sleep with you , help them byshow that the shadow in the corner is not an evil monster. A dim light in the room makes orientation easier when the child wakes up at night. In this way, it increasingly learns to face challenges.

rules and limits

With all empathy and the freedom to gain your own experiences, it is important in the third year of life to set rules and boundaries. Outbursts of anger are completely normal and the order of the day at this age, since the little ones are often not yet able to express themselves verbally.

On the one hand the child needs security, on the other hand it has to learn that this or that behavior has certain consequences.

Ultimately, this also strengthens the child’s development, because clear rules not only mean restrictions, but also provide security.



  • Vocabulary and language skills expand
  • Fine motor skills develop
  • gross motor movements become safer
  • Self-awareness and expressiveness become more differentiated
  • psychological growth through overcoming challenges
  • Take your child to the playground regularly! There it can climb and dig in the sand, or take it to the park to play ball
  • Have your child draw with finger paints or short, triangular pencils that have a good grip. Comment and praise the resulting artwork
  • first interest in the potty


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