Second Year, 13-24 Months

Between your child’s first and second birthdays he will begin to use more words. This is the time that language centers in his brain grow stronger. The result is that your child’s vocabulary grows quickly as he approaches his twos.

The paths connecting his brain and nervous system are also growing stronger. He will be able to do harder tasks, and understand more complex ideas. This is also the time when he will become more aware or himself, and of his own emotions and goals.

Signs of Healthy Development *

  • He becomes better at telling you what he wants and needs.
  • He uses both words and gestures to let you know what he wants.
  • He wants to move around and explore and is less likely to sit still for more than a few minutes.
  • He will be interested in other children and in creative play.
  • He loves to be the center of attention of his friends and family.

Language And Literacy

At this time, your baby will start using a mix of gestures, sounds and words. By 18 months, your child most likely will be a master of two word sentences like “More Milk!” By 24 months, most children are able to use close to 200 words. At this age, your child will love to read stories together with you. Through stories, she is adding new words to her vocabulary, learning how words are connected, and how sounds and letters make words.

What You Can Do to Help:

  • Ask her about pictures in storybooks. “Who is this?” “What is that?”
  • Relate events in a book to personal experiences. “Does our cat act like the cat in this story?”
  • Hold her in your lap to share picture books.
  • Encourage her to talk about stories and her ideas.

Thinking Skills

For this age group, curiosity is king. Children between 1 and 2 test how things work. Will a cup bounce like a ball? Another sign of your child’s developing thinking skills during this period is an interest in making tools – like standing on a box to reach toys on a high shelf.

What You Can Do to Help:

  • Make your home safe for him to explore. Baby-proof cabinets, wall-sockets, and sharp corners so that he can safely explore his world.
  • Help him explore how things work by stacking cups and building with blocks.


Between her first and second birthday, your child will start to assert her independence more often. “No” will probably become her favorite word. Between 24 and 30 months, many toddlers have gained enough control and awareness of their bodies to start potty-learning.

What You Can Do to Help:

  • Praise her for using words to express her feelings and thoughts
  • Be patient. Very patient.
  • When she appears uncomfortable and fidgety, ask her if she needs to use the bathroom.
  • Walk her through the entire bathroom process: from undoing clothes to washing her hands properly. Celebrate her successes!


During this time, children become even more interested in demonstrating their growing independence.

What You Can Do to Help:

  • Support your child’s growing self-confidence by allowing her to do things “all by herself.”
  • The outfit that she picks out to wear to school may not be what you would have picked, but she certainly will not be the first child to wear a cape to childcare.

*Let your pediatrician know if your child isn’t exhibiting these behaviors at the appropriate age!