This is a time when children are in love, maybe a little obsessed, with their favorite stories. You read a story with them over and over again and they’re just as enthusiastic about it as the first time they heard it. However, story time won’t be as quiet as it used to be. They interrupt and add commentary about pictures or characters every time you turn the page (which is a good thing!).
They’re also experimenting more with their tone of voice, so take the time to enjoy them imitating you or their favorite cartoon character! They understand more words and phrases, and prove it by being more verbal and responsive. “Who,” “when,” and “how” questions are answered with more ease. They even begin to respond and react to simple statements, like bringing you a blanket if you say the room is cold.
You’ll notice more dexterity in their hands. They might be able to string beads onto a shoelace or put on a show with sock puppets. You’ll see more gross motor coordination, too. With support, they can walk upstairs and alternate feet. If you don’t have stairs at home, it may take a little longer for your child to get the hang of this. Some milestones simply depend on the environment.
They show a heightened sense of awareness of their surroundings and how they fit into it: Whispering if their baby sister is sleeping, trying to fix a broken toy, or bringing a stool to the sink to reach the toothpaste. Math starts to take shape in different ways as well as they figure out how to fill up a measuring cup without it spilling over. They may ask for “two crackers” and count things in book illustrations. Of course, the math won’t always be correct, but numbers, volume, and weight are starting to make more sense.
Children at this stage begin to understand the foundations of friendship. You may hear about a few “best friends” from the playground. They join in when they see peers doing something interesting, like collecting rocks or playing with sidewalk chalk. They also recognize when they’re having fun with someone and call them by their name. It’s a beautiful beginning to their sense of belongingness!
Remember that children are delightfully unique and some of these milestones will happen before or after this month.