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Growth and Development, Ages 12 to 24 Months - Topic Overview

What kinds of growth and development occur during ages 12 to 24 months?

Your child's rapid brain development between the ages of 12 and 24 months causes amazing changes to happen—such as talking, walking, and remembering—as he or she enters the toddler years.

The changes that happen in this period are often grouped into five areas:

  • Physical growth. Expect your child to grow about 3 in. (7.6 cm) to 5 in. (12.7 cm) and gain about 3 lb (1.4 kg) to 5 lb (2.3 kg).
  • Cognitive development. This is your child's ability to think, learn, and remember. Your child will start to remember recent events and actions, understand symbols, imitate, imagine, and pretend.
  • Emotional and social development. Toddlers form strong emotional attachments and often feel uneasy when they are separated from their loved ones. Around the same time, toddlers typically want to do things on their own or according to their own wishes. This sets the stage for conflict, confusion, and occasional breakdowns.
  • Language development. At 15 to 18 months, a typical toddler understands 10 times more words than he or she can speak. By the second birthday, most toddlers can say at least 50 words.
  • Sensory and motor development.Motor skills develop as your child's muscles and nerves work together. Toddlers gain control and coordination and become steady walkers. Climbing, running, and jumping soon follow.

Why are routine medical visits needed?

During a well-child visit, the doctor examines your child to find out whether he or she is growing as expected. Your child will get any needed immunizations, and the doctor will ask you questions about the new things your child is doing, such as saying any words or walking. The doctor may also check your child for signs of developmental problems such as autism.

Schedule routine checkups for your child. Talk to your child's doctor about when to make these appointments.

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