Toddler growth and development milestones review for nursing students!
For pediatric nursing class, you must be familiar with all the growth and development milestones for each age group. This review will discuss the growth and development for the TODDLER.
Lecture on TODDLER Growth and Development Milestones
Toddler Growth and Development Milestones
Toddlers: age 1 year to 3 years
Toddlers are changing physically but their growth rate slows down a bit compared to the infant. However, they’re making huge leaps and bounds in their mental development and fine/gross motor development.
They are becoming very aware of their environment and want to explore and test it out, which helps them understand their environment. Furthermore, they start developing autonomy. This is where they realize they’re individuals (separate from the caregiver) and they are able to exert their own will. Also, they realize their reactions influence others around them.
They will start to look less like a baby and more like a little child (as you can see in the example below). So, it is amazing the changes a child undergoes within the first 3 years of life.
Some fine and gross motor skills a toddler can perform: Throw and kick a ball, run, climb, hold a pencil and scribble, build with blocks, say their name, use 100s of words, talk in up to 3 word sentences etc.
Toddler Body Changes
Weight (by 24 months):
- Gains about 4-6 lbs. per year (this is decreased compared to the infant’s rate)
- At 24 months, weight should be 4 x the birth weight:
- Example: 7 lbs. at birth…what would the weight be at 2 years? Around 28 lbs.
- Average weight of 24 month old is 26.5 lbs (girls) -27.5 lbs (boys)
Height (by 24 months):
- Increases by 2-3 inches per year
- Height at 24 months is ½ their adult height
- Average height for 24 month old is: 33-34 inches
Head to chest circumference: equal around 12-24 months (newborn head circumference was about 1-2 cm bigger than the chest circumference)
Now let’s highlight the importance concepts you want to know about the toddler as a nurse, and to help us remember those concept let’s remember the word:
- Why they have them? It goes along with the common saying “terrible twos”. At this time in life, the toddler is developing a sense of autonomy and they want to be independent but struggle with this new found development. They easily become stressed or agitated when they can’t accomplish something. For example, opening a container to access toys or being told “no” can cause a tantrum. Toddlers are immature in how they process their emotions.
- How they response? Scream, cry loudly, throw items on the ground, hit etc.
- Education for parents?
- Normal part of childhood development (unfortunately)….it will pass as the child becomes older
- Stay calm and don’t give in to the child (teaches them tantrums work) or try to reason with them
- Ignore the behavior but stay close so they know you’re there
- Be consistent with your approach
- Divert their attention to something else
- Be aware of the triggers: hunger, sick, tired etc.
- Let them have some autonomy with choices (give simple options…..It’s time for bed….we can read this book or that book?”)
- Praise their good behavior
- Prepare them for a change in event:
- Example: leaving the park…..say “you can go down the slide 3 more times and then we are going home” rather than suddenly telling them it’s time to leave.
On the move (SAFETY): toddlers are at a major risk for hurting themselves due to increased mobility, curiosity, not able to perceive the danger or consequences. Therefore, it’s a dangerous age for death.
Educate parent about: “DANGERS”
- Automobile accident (stay in rear-facing until 2 years in the back and then switches to forward-facing in the back after 2 years)
- Nose-dives (falls)
- Getting burned
- Eating toxic substances
- Revolvers/rifles…unsecured firearms
Diaper to potty transition “potty training”: child must be ready physically and mentally or it won’t be successful
- The anal and urethral sphincter can be voluntarily controlled around 18-24 months. Bowel control comes before bladder (reason: bowel movement is easier to detect).
- Most children potty trained by 3 years (day-time) .
- Night-time potty training takes more time….still needs a diaper at night (4-5 years).
- Know the signs that a child is ready to potty train: “TOILET”
- Two or more hours with dry diaper
- On and off (potty by self and their pants)
- Interested in potty
- Likes sitting on toilet (5-10 minutes)
- Experiencing regular BM (same time)
- Tells you they have to go
Development stage theory:
Piaget’s Theory: a person develops through various stages by interacting and exploring their environment and this helps them learn about it. Based on the toddler’s age they may be in either sensorimotor (birth to 2 years) or preoperational phase (2 to 7 years).
- What to remember about preoperational?
- Toddlers don’t see things from another person’s point of view….very egocentric
- They’re symbolic in thinking and play….plays pretend (ex: pretends a stick is a sword and fighting monsters)
Type of Play by Toddlers: parallel play
- This means they observe others play and play beside them but don’t actually play with others.
- Toys Toddlers like: blocks and ones with containers (love putting objects inside things), push and pull toys (wagon, cars, strollers etc.)…remember they’re walking, stuffed toys, pretend sets (cooking, shopping, building), coloring, painting, balls (like throwing objects), books that are interactive with sounds or hidden doors….like to mimic parents activities
Erickson’s Stages of Development: Autonomy vs Shame/Guilt
- Developing independence….able to reach this stage because they’ve developed trust with caregiver (needs being met in previous stage)…discovered they’re individuals separate from others…their actions affect others and objects in their environment
- Result of stage: develop confidence to develop skills (toilet training, feeding self, dressing self)
- Interventions to help with this stage: provide opportunities for independence and give positive feedback, don’t punish for doing skills wrong
- Choices with food, drinks, books to read, activities
Separation Anxiety: know the stages
- Protest: crying and doesn’t want parent to leave
- Despair: depressed no longer crying but withdrawn/quite….but will cry once parent comes back
- Detachment: rare to get to this stage….to cope they detach themselves from parent…seems happy and that they have coped but they haven’t…affects the child parent relationship…won’t cry when parent returns
Interventions for separation anxiety: remind child parent is coming back (if this is true), maintain routines, encourage child to talk about parent
Loves to say “NO”:
Negativism: doing the opposite of what is being asked
- Why? The toddler wants to be independent so when you ask them to do something they don’t desire or weren’t going to do they will say no….it’s all about their autonomy.
- Education on how to deal: avoid getting a no response….give options and let them pick (helps with autonomy) example: “You can take your medicine in a blue cup or green cup.” rather than “Are you ready to take your medicine?”
- Well balanced diet (tend to be grazers)
- Toddlers like to have small easy to grab nutritious snacks rather than sit down and eat 3 meals a day (fruits, veggies, meats, milk, water…limit juices, processed, sweets, and fatty foods)
- Don’t let toddler fall asleep with bottle in mouth…dental caries
- When should they go to a dentist? When the first set of teeth have broken through….lower central incisors…around 8-10 months so by 12 months (assist w/ brushing teeth and ask if water has fluoride in it at home….if not may need fluoride application)
- Becomes picky about food (eats based on how it looks…avoid foods that are mixed together like a stir-fry with rice, mixed meats and veggies…separate them…use fun plates)
- Ritualistic (more about this later) about how their meals are presented….certain foods at for certain mealtimes, particular plate, or cup
- Doesn’t like trying new foods at this time…will have a limited diet of what they like
- Choking risk….avoid foods that are hard to chew: big chunky meats, foods with strings like celery, seeds, hard candy, popcorn etc. )….still fine-tuning their chewing abilities (large pieces can become lodged in the throat)…educate about how to relieve from choking.
Rrr (rituals, rivalry, regression)
Ritualism: the child wants things done the same way each time….has certain routines and items they use for specific tasks (ex: needs a specific plate to eat, needs a bed time story before going to bed etc.)
- Why? It’s comfortable and predictable for them. It actually creates an environment where they can start learning new skills.
Rivalry (sibling): this is the age where many toddlers become a brother or sister
- Why it causes problems? It breaks the routine, attention is diverted suddenly and they will start to act out (tantrums or regression).
- Interventions: include them so the focus of attention is not too hard to cope with like with feeding and care, consider their comfort for routines and try to maintain important ones, watch out for jealously because toddler may physically harm the new sibling
Regression: toddlers can start to revert back to infancy skills or temporarily lose developmental skills they have obtained…like they can start using the bathroom on self if previously potty trained, refusing to eat and want a bottle, lose speaking abilities, not sleeping at night etc.
- Why? Toddlers learn and grow differently in the development of skills and if overwhelmed or stressed they can regress. Toddlers have specific bursts of learning based on age (milestones ages) compared to adults who build upon their skills and can easier deal with failures and stress than the toddler.
- Causes: Stress (feel like they can’t cope or be successful at new skill or situation), disruption to their routine (new sibling, new caregiver, being in the hospital)
- Result: Regresses back in their stage of development because they’re more comfortable and it’s more predictable.
- Interventions: don’t punish due to the regression, identify the cause of stress (try to remove or alleviate it if possible) or when a regression episode is likely to occur (going to a new daycare…not the best time to be learning a new skill that requires independence until comfortable with new daycare situation), concentrate on what the toddler is doing well
Child Development: Toddlers (2-3 years old) | CDC. Retrieved 3 September 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/toddlers2.html
Toddler Development: MedlinePlus. Retrieved 3 September 2020, from https://medlineplus.gov/toddlerdevelopment.html
Your Child’s Development | Childcare.gov. Retrieved 3 September 2020, from https://www.childcare.gov/consumer-education/your-childs-development