Children at this stage begin to notice defining characteristics and make comparisons between themselves and others. They not only detect different features, they also use the proper possessive pronouns (“your hair yellow, mine brown”) to describe what they see. You hear more structure in their sentences as they start to incorporate articles as well. Instead of just pointing at “doggie outside,” they say “the doggie outside” more often.
They start to understand that more than one cookie is “cookies,” but they continue to struggle with irregular plural nouns. “Tooths” will be become “teeth” eventually, but not quite yet. Positional words (up, down, low, high) definitely make their mark, especially “up!” when wanting to be held.
They can now put on their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us! However, they may need a little help finding that first leg. They can run a bit further (5-10 steps without falling) and display more stability on different surfaces such as slippery floors or sandy playgrounds. And if they need more speed, this is a great time for balance bikes: Low bikes without pedals that are designed for little ones at this age.
When it’s time to scribble, their hands have a distinct grasp with all fingers pointed towards the end of the crayon, but they continue to use their whole arm to move the crayon around. They might use their new artistic skills to draw pictures for family members and friends. Since they’ve learned to predict simple emotional reactions, they already know that grandma will be thrilled to receive their latest masterpiece!
There is also a noticeable difference in their ability to control their behavior. For example, they cry and get upset when they can’t have another cookie, but they don’t tackle you like a linebacker in an attempt to grab the forbidden snack. Certain actions, like sharing toys with peers or waiting in line at the grocery store, aren’t as dramatic as they used to be. They’re starting to understand that they can’t always get what they want, but they sure continue to try!
Remember that children are delightfully unique and some of these milestones will happen before or after this month.