30–36 Months: Your Child’s Development
Older toddlers are full of personality and energy. They want to know the reason for everything. You may hear your child ask "Why?" a lot!
What kinds of questions is your child asking? What is she curious about?
|What Your Toddler Can Do||What You Can Do|
|My body helps me do “big kid” stuff now!||Give your child chances to practice more advanced physical skills.|
|I use language to express my thoughts and feelings.||Ask questions that require more than a yes-or-no answer. Be patient with your child’s “Why?” questions.|
|I am using my new thinking skills to solve problems.||At dinnertime or before bed, talk with your child about her day.|
|My friends are very important to me.||Help children deal with conflicts around sharing and turn-taking, and teach differences among people.|
Spotlight on Making Friends
Between 30 and 36 months, toddlers really enjoy playing with friends—doing things like acting out stories, building together with blocks, or exploring the playground.
Friendships are great fun. They also help children develop important social skills like taking turns, sharing, and helping others. Through friendships, children learn to communicate with others, resolve disagreements, and understand others’ thoughts and feelings. Children who are friendly, confident, and who can cooperate with others are most likely to succeed in a classroom setting.
Keep in mind that brothers and sisters are often a child’s first friends, even though it may not seem like it some days! Sibling relationships provide daily practice with sharing and cooperating. They also offer children opportunities to show compassion and loving support.
What You Can Do
- Make time for play. Encourage brothers, sisters, and cousins to play together. Organize playdates with friends. Join a parenting group or attend community events like library story hours.
- Give nonverbal feedback. Give your child an encouraging smile when he is unsure about sharing.
- Notice positive behavior. You two figured out how to share the trains. Nice job!
- Help children understand others’ feelings. Janelle is covering her face. She doesn’t like it when you throw the ball so hard. Let’s roll it gently instead.
- Encourage children to problem solve. You both want the tricycle. What can we do about this?
- Suggest problem-solving strategies. How about while Marco has a turn on the tricycle, you pretend to be the traffic light and say “stop” and “go?” Then you two can switch.
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Older toddlers are making great strides in developing self-control but still have a ways to go to learn to manage their impulses in appropriate ways.
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Learn how to nurture your baby's social emotional, intellectual, language, and motor development from 24 to 36 months. Explore more age ranges in our full Healthy Minds Series.