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Your Child’s Development: 2.5 Years (30 Months)

Are you amazed by the new things your toddler says each day? Less than a year ago, your little one was uttering one-word commands — now it's likely that he or she is speaking in three-word sentences.

Your toddler's growing vocabulary includes a couple hundred words. Reading, songs, and nursery rhymes are fun ways to build on blossoming language skills.

Doctors use certain milestones to tell if a toddler is developing as expected. There's a wide range of what's considered normal, so some children gain skills earlier or later than others. Toddlers who were born prematurely reach milestones later. Always talk with your doctor about your child's progress.

Here are some things your toddler might be doing:

Communication and Language Skills

  • says short phrases of 3-4 words
  • is understandable to others 50% of the time 
  • speaks using pronouns (I, me, you)
  • asks many "What?" and "Where?" questions

Movement and Physical Development 

  • washes and dries hands
  • brushes teeth with help
  • pulls pants up with assistance
  • jumps in place
  • throws a ball overhand

Social and Emotional Development

  • enjoys pretend play
  • starts to play with, not just alongside, other kids
  • can tell you when he or she needs a diaper change or has to go to the potty 
  • refers to himself or herself by name

Cognitive Skills (Thinking and Learning)

  • begins to develop a sense of humor (e.g., thinks silly things, such as a story about a barking cat, are funny)
  • understands the concept of one item or thing (e.g., "Give me one block.")

When to Talk to Your Doctor

Every child develops at his or her own pace, but certain signs could indicate a delay in development. Talk to your doctor if your child:

  • does not engage in pretend play
  • doesn't speak, or makes vowel sounds but no consonants or words
  • doesn't recognize simple emotions (happy, sad) in others

Also, if you ever notice that your child has lost skills he or she once had or shows weakness on one side of the body, tell your doctor.

Date reviewed: June 2016

Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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