When is a child considered a toddler?

Parenting

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When is a child considered a toddler?

One day, you have a sweet, delicate newborn in your arms. A year whizzes by in a whirlwind of milestones and at some point you have a walking, talking little person instead. In those early months the changes are big and rapid, but at what age does a toddler start? How long will it last, and when will your baby graduate to being a child? Is there a toddler age definition? When is a child considered a toddler?

Broadly, the consensus is that the toddler era starts at 12 months, and lasts until they are three. But no child fits the mold exactly, and developmental milestones must be considered when categorizing your little one as beyond a baby, and now a toddler.

The term toddler is derived from the noun “to toddle”, so the clumsy first steps and stumbling walking is the clearest definition. Of course, one size does not fit all and babies develop at rapid rates, so some may enter this stage a little earlier, some a bit later. But it does seem to be a good point to consider as the point your baby has evolved into their toddler years.

However, walking isn’t the only skill that your little one will develop during this phase. Their motor skills will rapidly increase and their cognitive abilities too. Although their weight does not increase as rapidly as it did during the baby months, there will still be significant physical development as they begin to resemble more a child than a baby.

When is a child considered a toddler?

Their social skills will develop so that rather than simply engaging in parallel play with other children their age, they will start to interact with other kids and indulge in more sophisticated play styles such as roleplay and imaginative games. They’ll also form stronger bonds with family members as their communication skills come along.

Speech is another big area of progress during the toddler phase. Your stumbling one year old may babble and know a few words, but particularly in their second-year conversation will become a lot more developed and this will definitely help build those friendships and deepen the family bonds.

When is my child no longer a toddler?

As with any phase in a child’s development, there is an end as well as the beginning, which is bound to be a bittersweet moment. As mentioned above, the consensus on age is that 36 months is the cut-off, although some may consider a toddler to be up to four years.

Again, skills are the key thing to focus on for any late bloomers. The entry into the preschool child years is generally accompanied by the toddler having developed the skills necessary to progress into education.  Potty training and the ability to stay dry is a key milestone. The ability to feed themselves confidently is also important, as well as the basics of self dressing and getting themselves ready. Cognitive abilities feature too, so if the child is communicating well and able to exercise their imagination and socialize well, your toddler is likely to be ready for the next stage and all the exciting roads ahead.

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