Around this time, children are thrilled to be the center of attention. They jump into the spotlight to show off their funny faces or silly dance moves. As long as all eyes are on them, they’re happy campers! They also become more creative during playtime with the additions of imaginary friends or role-play activities – forms of free play that help them practice expressing their thoughts and emotions.
They begin to recognize that they’re a part of a family, and cooperate more with caregivers by responding to safety warnings (“Don’t touch that!”). If they feel pain or discomfort, they can point to the part of their body that hurts.
Because listening skills have improved, you get more questions (such as “what” and “where”) during conversations. You might even hear some informal contractions (“What gonna do at Nana’s house?” or “Where gotta go?”).
This month also marks the beginning stages of pre-operational thought, showcased by toddlers starting to recall their experiences through words or drawings. You may see scribbles of a bird they saw at the park, or hear stories about the dog next door. When examining objects, they concentrate on one characteristic and ignore others. In their eyes, a small box filled with toys will be lighter than a bigger, empty box because their focus is solely on size. But modifying ideas will start to become easier. For instance, when you point out that the lion on the TV is different than your kitty cat, they’ll start to catch on.
You may also notice some improvement in strength and balance, such as being able to stand on one leg for up to 3 or 4 seconds. When opening and closing scissors, hand movements look more advanced, but they’re not ready to cut into paper just yet. Using other basic tools, such as a rolling pin or cookie cutters, is great fun for little fingers at this stage.
Remember that children are delightfully unique and some of these milestones will happen before or after this month.