Second year milestones

If last year was the year of Baby growing bigger and stronger every day, the coming year will be all about the things he is learning how to do. The second year of a toddler’s life is full of action, adventure, and gravity-defying stunts – and the very frazzled parents and caregivers who do their best to keep up.

Motor skills

The motor skills Baby develops during this time will take him to a whole new level of mobility, speed, and the adventure that comes with it. By the end of his second year, your toddler will be able to:

  • Walk on his own
  • Pull a toy along behind him as he walks
  • Carry a large toy, or several toys, while he is walking
  • Start to learn to run
  • Stand on tiptoe
  • Kick a ball
  • Climb onto and off of furniture
  • Walk up and down stairs while holding onto support
  • Scribble using a marker, crayon, or pencil
  • Build a tower that stacks four or more blocks
  • Turn over a container to pour out whatever is in it


Another exciting part of the second year is that, instead of just watching each other carefully to pick up on each other’s cues, Baby’s communication skills will just keep building until you and he can communicate with each other on purpose on a fairly regular basis. As the second year goes on, he will learn to:

  • Follow simple instructions
  • Say several individual words (15 to 18 months)
  • Put two or more words together into connected thoughts, or even sentences (18 to 24 months)
  • Start to explore pronouns, probably “my” and “mine” first
  • Point to a few body parts with familiar names when asked to
  • Points to pictures in a book when he hears those things named
  • Use many different consonants at the beginnings of words
  • Use question words like where, when, or what
  • Recognize familiar names and words
  • Repeat words he overhears


And none of the things he is going to do or say would be possible without all the exciting new ways he is learning to think about and look at the world around him. Over the course of this year, he will learn to:

  • Fully understand that he is an individual, and a different person from you
  • Start to understand the concept of ownership, which might seem like a roadblock to sharing, but ultimately is an understanding he will need before real sharing is possible
  • Recognize themselves
  • Begin to sort objects by shapes and colors, which shows his growing understanding of grouping and sorting, which is necessary for everything from his future math skills to his growing understanding of language
  • Begin to play pretend games, which is an early sign of abstract thinking

  • CDC “Toddlers (1-2 years old).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, February 1 2017. retrieved May 4 2017.
  • “Developmental Milestones: 2 Year Olds.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, June 1 2009. retrieved May 4 2017.
  • “One to Two Years.” ASHA. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. retrieved May 4 2017.

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