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Toddler - Week #98

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Your 23-month-old toddler (week 98)

By Shelley Feldman, edHelperBaby

Language Development
           As your toddler begins to edge closer and closer to the two-year mark, expect to be amazed by her rate of language acquisition.  Your dreams of having a real conversation with your toddler have definitely arrived (although your interpreting skills continue to get quite a work-out), and your mind-reading skills can finally be laid to rest...at least until adolescence.

       This month your toddler's vocabulary may contain up to 50 words or more, and she can probably put together a few three-word sentences as well.  Most likely the words in her sentences are in the correct grammatical order, but expect them to continue sounding choppy and slightly "robotic."  Soon enough she'll figure out how to appropriately add pronouns, as well as words like "the" and "and" to her sentences to fill them out and make them more complete.

       Your toddler's comprehension of your language is also expanding daily, and she is able to understand simple two-step commands.  There are, however, no promises whatsoever that she will actually follow through with your requests, solely based on the fact that toddlers this age just don't like to listen.

       This month your toddler will be able to answer simple questions like, "What is your name?" and "Are you thirsty?" kindly taking some of the guess-work out of your daily routine.  She is also beginning to understand basic opposites like big and small, or short and tall, and thoroughly enjoys showing off her new skills to anyone that will lend an ear.

       Now is also the time when your toddler may begin referring to herself by name.  This is a very important milestone on her way towards understanding that she is an individual, so although it is sad to watch your little one become more independent, it's a very exciting time in her life as well.

       By now, your toddler has become quite good at expressing herself, and is certain to let you know how she is feeling from one moment to the next.  Continue to nurture the development of her emotional intelligence by teaching her the words that go with her emotions, in both good times and in bad.  Although I am quite certain that you will be aware when your little one is angry, it can't hurt for her to be able to tell you herself.   Also, be sure to reinforce that it's absolutely normal to have conflicting emotions from time to time, like when she's thrilled to experience something new, yet completely terrified to try it out.

       This month, continue to talk to your toddler a lot, encourage her use of language and do things with her that help her to learn and practice her language skills.  When you talk to your toddler, describe and label everything, and involve her in the conversation too...you just never know what she may teach you along the way.


Memory, Cognition And "Make-Believe"
           The days of  taking advantage of the old adage "out of sight, out of mind" are coming to a close, and your 23-month-old toddler's cognitive skills are sharpening dramatically.  He is now able to recall where things have been hidden away hours after they have been stashed, and can even help out when your keys have miraculously vanished (although he may be the culprit regarding their re-location).  At this point in your toddler's development, he can also remember both special and "unusual" events (good and bad) for up to four months, but his memory becomes less intact as time progresses.  Keep in mind that your 23-month-old's memory is not "firing on all cylinders" yet, so be patient if he has no re-collection of the wonderful trip to Disneyland that you took last year.  He is also not ignoring your pleas from six months ago to stop putting Cheerios in the DVD player...he's just forgotten.

       This month, your toddler will also begin to make generalizations, associating the toy airplane he has in his room with the one flying in the sky.  He will also begin to expand his play repertoire, and his ability to "pretend" will flourish.  Around 23 months, your toddler will begin to lay the foundation to enter the land of "make-believe," so prepare for the emergence of a little super hero flying around your home, as his ability to "fantasize" is just around the corner.


           Learning About Colors       

       This is a great way to begin teaching your toddler about colors, and it will also help her to learn associations between colors and their appropriate names.

       Begin by selecting five similar objects (blocks, crayons, balls) that are one solid color each.  Then sit on the floor facing your toddler, and hand her one object at a time saying "red (block)," then "blue (block)," etc.  Next, ask your child to return the red (block) to you, and have her repeat "red," and do the same with all of the colors you have chosen.

       Go one by one until your toddler has passed all of the objects back to you and labeled them correctly.  The next step of this activity is to place two colored objects in front of your toddler, request one color back at a time, and have her make the correct decision on her own between the two choices in front of her.

       Once she is able to correctly label the objects when faced with two, move onto three, then four, then five.  It can take toddlers this age quite a while to connect the actual colors with the correct names, so be patient.


  Andrew and Devin's Opinion
           This was a really fun activity.  To be completely honest, prior to this activity I had not spent much time on colors with my twin 23-month-old boys.  I always describe things in detail over the course of our day-to-day activities, but never took the time to specifically sit down and focus on the colors around us.  Let's just say that this activity quickly reminded me of what little sponges children this age are, and how everything we say and do with them is stored away and pulled out when you least expect it.

       Prior to beginning our color activity, I located five medium-size balls, all of which were the exact same size and type with the exception of their color.  In order to keep things simple, I kept with five basic colors (red, orange, yellow, green, and blue) instead of expanding into various shades and hues.  Lastly, I sat Andrew and Devin down on the floor facing me and laid the balls out in front of us.

       Even before I could begin this activity, Devin began to point at the various balls and stated their colors rather matter-of-factly.  I was completely surprised.  Little did I know that he had picked up this information on his own and without my "help."  Of course after witnessing the praise that Devin received for his work, Andrew could not allow his brother to show him up.  Andrew immediately proceeded to rattle off the colors one by one, and then proceeded to give Devin a glare from across the room as well.

       This just goes to show how important it is, that as parents, we constantly talk to our children, and be active participants in their day-to-day lives.  Toddlers this age are learning from the second they rise to the second they fall asleep at night, and now more than ever we need to be on our best behavior because they are paying closer attention than you may ever realize.


  Have you begun to wonder...
           If I have completely forgotten events that occurred in my life before the age of three, will my toddler have no recollection of these early years as well?       

       The answer to this question is most likely yes.  Researchers have found that because children under the age of three lack the language skills and vocabulary to "fully process" information, they are unlikely to recall events that occurred very early on in life.  Because they are not able to put specific words and identify specific emotions associated with early experiences, children have great difficulty storing these memories away in a concrete manner and are therefore unable to retrieve them years or even months later.

       Although your toddler may not recall the amazing things that he was introduced and exposed to during the early years of his life, do not think for an instant that it hasn't impacted the little person that he is today, or the adult he will become in the future.  The experiences that your child has from the second he is born (of course, coupled with genetics) mold your child into a special and unique individual, unlike anyone else.  Take every opportunity that you have to provide your toddler with new experiences, and stimulate the little mind that is developing more and more everyday.  Despite the fact that his memories may be faint, yours will not be and it will be worth every second.


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