Although your child's physical growth will slow down in the second year, their development will continue at a rapid pace as they begin to explore the boundaries of their world. Here is a snapshot of your child's growth and development from 12 to 24 months of age.


During the second year, your child's growth in length will begin to slow down. On average, a child will grow 8 cm to 13 cm (3 to 5 inches) in length and gain 1.4 kg to 2.3 kg (3 lbs to 5 lbs) between 12 and 24 months of age.


By the end of the second year, your child will probably have reached the following developmental milestones:

  • using short phrases (2 to 4 words)
  • understanding what common household objects are for (e.g., spoon, telephone, comb)
  • following simple instructions
  • pointing to objects when they are named (e.g., "Where's the dog?")
  • walking alone
  • pulling toys behind them and pushing wheeled toys
  • standing on tiptoe
  • beginning to run
  • kicking a ball
  • scribbling or colouring on a piece of paper
  • starting to sort objects by colour and shape
  • imitating the behaviour of others
  • starting make-believe play
  • building a block tower (4 blocks or more)
  • playing with other children (rather than just playing near them)
  • climbing up and down on furniture (without help)
  • going up and down the stairs (with support)

Helping your child grow and develop

During the second year, your child will begin to explore their independence. They are beginning to see themselves as a separate person, and will begin to test the limits of their world (and also test your limits as a parent). Although they may be more "clingy" earlier in their second year, this will decrease as the year comes to a close.

Help your child learn through play. At this stage, your child may be interested in make-believe play, having simple stories read to them, listening and dancing to music, sorting objects by colour and shape, pushing or pulling wheeled toys, building block towers, climbing up and down on furniture, moving objects from one container to another, colouring (which will be more like scribbling at this point), and finding hidden objects.

Foster your child's growing independence. Your child wants to be independent, but still needs help to do most things. Let them try to do things on their own, but supervise them closely and be ready to step in if they're getting frustrated or is at risk of hurting themselves.

Be patient. Near the end of the second year, be prepared for the beginning of those "terrible twos" temper tantrums. Stay calm and model the kind of behaviour you'd like your child to learn.

Keep safety in mind. If you haven't child-proofed your house, now is a good time to start. Make sure your little explorer can't hurt themselves. Plug outlet covers, lock drawers and toilets, install corner guards, keep small objects out of reach, and use baby gates for the stairs. Remember that child-proofing is an ongoing project: as your child gets bigger and develops new skills (such as climbing), you'll need to keep up by making their ever-expanding world a safer place.

Finally, keep in mind that every child develops at their own pace. Your child may reach developmental milestones earlier or later than other children of the same age. If you are concerned about your child's growth or development, speak to your doctor.