This stage of life is a wonderful time to watch your child rapidly discover the wonders of the world around him/her. However, it is also a time when they start to display their independence, which can sometimes lead to unruly behaviour. Read on for tips on nurturing your toddler into a happy, healthy and thriving individual.
This article was written in collaboration with Professor Daisy Chan, Chairperson, Chapter of Neonatologists.
Your toddler is growing up quickly in front of you. Knowing what to expect and understanding your toddler better will make it easier for you to keep up with him/her well. Here are some developmental milestones1 you can expect2 from your toddler.
Create fun fine-motor skills challenges – for example, practise flipping the pages of a book one page at a time alone, building a tower of blocks up to 4 blocks high or arranged as a train, and replacing shapes through using eye-hand coordination or rolling a ball across the room.
Find opportunities to have conversations with your toddler, for example, during playtime, or asking for help with safe activities such as folding clothes with your supervision. Such activities help foster a sense of belonging and collaboration with others and hence play a part in developing pro-social behaviour.
Encourage your toddler to go on a “treasure hunt” at home, to find some toys you have placed around the space.
Go for a nature walk and tell your toddler the names of things you see.
Find out more about what to expect from your growing toddler
Feeding your toddler well at a young age is important, as many eating habits are developed during childhood. Here is how you can continue feeding your toddler for healthier growth.
From the age of 1, toddlers can eat the same foods as the rest of the family – and it is crucial to provide a healthy balanced diet with the different food groups so that your toddler can get all the nutrients needed. Read more about serving portions
Below is a sample daily menu for toddlers aged 1 to 2 years old.
Want more tips on feeding your toddler? Check
this article out.
Staying active is important for toddlers – it helps them develop their fine motor skills, and social skills, as well as build stronger muscles and bones, amongst many other benefits. It is ideal for them to spend
at least 180 minutes in various types of physical activities. This is also a time when toddlers start to develop motor skills rapidly. You may observe reflexes and reactions from them, such as grasping, sucking, crawling, scooting and even getting startled. It is the best time for your toddler to get used to moving around!
To develop your toddler’s motor skills, you can get your toddler to move after every hour – for example, try placing toys on the floor to encourage him or her to stand up, walk over and stoop to recover objects placed further away. Do not be afraid to experiment – allow your toddler to explore a variety of activities! Here are some ideas on encouraging your toddler to be active, in fun and safe ways.
Toddlers’ teeth are something to smile about indeed! Your toddler’s baby teeth should have mostly grown by now, and you will need to
keep them healthy until their adult teeth grow out.
Brush twice a day, with toothpaste recommended for toddlers and about the size of a grain of rice. You can help your toddler brush his teeth for about two minutes. When you feel that he/she can do it himself/herself well, you can teach him/her how to do it.
When you see two teeth that touch, clean between the teeth. This removes food between the teeth and under the gums, and in turn, helps to stop cavity formation.
Some food and drinks are not good for baby teeth – they include sugar-laden ones such as candy, cookies and soda. This is because sugar and acid can make the enamel of the teeth weak, increasing the risk of cavities. You don’t have to completely remove these from your toddler’s diet – limiting intake and regular teeth cleaning should be adequate to help these baby teeth last until new ones erupt.
Going to the dentist can be scary, but with the right tips, you can put your toddler at ease! You can start to teach your little one about dental visits in a positive way. Toddlers constantly pick up vocal cues and body language, so before your visit, explain why you’re going – cheerfully. For example, you can tell your toddler, “We’re going to see our dentist friend today, and he’s going to help keep your teeth nice, clean, and healthy!”
Read more about some teeth-cleaning best practices.
Here are some oral care resources.
In today’s digitally fuelled world, it is inevitable that your child’s environment is surrounded by digital devices such as televisions, screens, and tablets. While these devices do bring along benefits for toddlers, it is still important to manage screen time. Toddlers between 18 and 36 months should have no more than 1 hour of screen time each day. Here are some tips on how you can establish ground rules so that your toddler can have a healthy amount of screen time.
While there are thousands of apps and games around, all claiming to be educational, not all of them are. You can do some quick research on parenting sites, forums, or articles from educators and doctors on good apps for toddlers and preview them before sharing them with your toddler.
This gives your toddler some time to wind down properly and get a good night’s sleep.
Today, many devices come with settings to help parents monitor and control the amount of screen time their toddlers are exposed to. Once the time you’ve allocated is used up, your toddler will no longer be able to use the device.
Your toddler, who has just started to find a voice, may kick up a fuss in the beginning. The key is to be firm about the boundaries, but your toddler will soon get used to it, and find something else for amusement.
More tips on screen time for toddlers under 2 can be found
Toys are important in a toddler’s development – they not only entertain these bundles of energy balls; they also enhance skills in areas such as communication, cognition, and motor skills. Toddlers of this age have good control of their hands and fingers and tend to like to handle small objects. Some toddler-friendly toys include:
Examples: blocks that snap together, compartmentalized containers to place different-coloured objects, puzzles (4 to 12 pieces)
Examples: Building blocks, construction sets, toddler-sized furniture, dress-up doll
Examples: Paints, crayons, large paintbrushes, chalk
Examples: Books with colourful details, as well as interactive pop-up features.
Examples: Balls for kicking and throwing, tunnels with soft padding
Tip: Always ensure that the toys are safe – for example, they should not be breakable or have sharp parts or splinters. They should also be easily cleaned. For more tips to make playtime safe for your toddler,
read this article.
Your toddler will have his/her own character now, and he/she will be able to make some decisions on his/her own. This is yet another important milestone – and a crucial time to inculcate the right habits in your toddler.
Parent Hub for more useful tips and guides to give your child a healthy start.
The article has been endorsed by the following representatives, listed in alphabetical order by institutions: A/Prof Tan Lay Kok (Obstetrics & Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital), Dr Moira Chia Suyin (Consultant, Department of Paediatrics, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital), Ms Adeline Kooh Seok Koon (Asst Director, Nursing (Maternity), Mount Alvernia Hospital), Dr Angelia Chua (Family Physician Consultant, National Healthcare Group Polyclinics), Prof Lee Yung Seng (Group Director, Paediatrics, National University Hospital), Ms Susan Kok (Senior Asst Director, Nursing, Gleneagles Hospital, Parkway Pantai Group), Ms Helen Cruz Espina (Senior Lactation Consultant, Raffles Hospital Pte Ltd), A/Prof Yong Tze Tein (Head & Senior Consultant, O&G, Singapore General Hospital), Ms Fonnie Lo (Asst Director, ParentCraft Centre (Clinical) and Lactation Consultant, Thomson Medical Pte. Ltd).
This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
Helping Youth Fight Depression
Building Resilience In Your Child
3 Ways Your Child Benefits From Boredom
Play To Win
Healthy Food for Kids in a Bento
View More Programmes
Carbs are often seen as the dietary villains. But do they really deserve their bad rap?
Establishing convenient and conducive environments for workers to achieve healthier lifestyles.
Have you been checking in with those you care for? All it takes to start the conversation is a ‘hi’.
Browse Live Healthy
In partnership with