Toddler Development – 31 to 36 Months

At this stage, everything has moved forward and the biggest change is the level of focus and concentration your child can give a task. This means more involved tasks are more enjoyable and easier for them. Physically, they can do more than ever and seem to have boundless energy. Emotionally, the feel more independent and socially they are.

Physical Development

Running, jumping, climbing, rolling and all manner of movements and physical tasks are within easy grasp of your toddler’s new physical capabilities. Their balance is developing all the time so while it may be hard to watch as a parent, they will be able to balance on a beam or manage stepping stones quite easily. They will also be happy to show off their skills in cycling by pedaling a tricycle or pushing along on a scooter designed for their age range.

Physically, your child will be asserting their claim to independence by wanting to do everything for themselves; going to the toilet, getting dressed and undressed, feeding themselves and simple things like choosing books to read and turning the pages.

Your toddler’s aim will be improving all the time, they will be able to kick and throw a ball so it goes where they intend it to with some success. As for fine motor skills, at this stage your toddler should be able to hold a pencil well and make confident marks on a page, drawing simple shapes that are recognizable (and intricate shapes that aren’t!).

Emotional & Social Development

Your child is likely to still enjoy pretend play, so imagination games that stimulate their sense of fun and creativity are a great idea ? dressing up is a big hit at this age. At this stage, your toddler may be finding it easier to share or take turns with games and will enjoy simple multiplier games such as circle games, races and very easy board games.

The tantrums that may have been a big part of your everyday life may be easing off and being replaced by a little patience but many children of this age continue to find emotions overwhelming and feel sensitive and prone to outbursts of anger or tears. As your child feels more able to communicate and approach social interaction with more patience and confidence, these difficulties should pass. You can help by maintaining you (outward) calm and explaining the situation to your child in a way that they will understand, removing them from the situation if necessary.

The older your child gets, the more you will begin to see where their strengths lie. So while your little explorer may be able to get to the top of a climbing frame in the time it takes you to blink, an-other toddler of the same age may be terrified of the prospect. That same toddler may be drawing complicated pictures of their family while yours is content with a quick scribble.

It’s not the time to get competitive. Encourage your child to do the things they enjoy and try to make the things they aren’t so keen on more fun. Most importantly, enjoy watching these unique attributed develop ? this is your child’s individuality emerging and it will feel amazing to watch their personality shine through.

The HSE have more information on their ‘Caring for your Baby and Child’ page

Author: Arlene Copeland

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