Child development 1-2 years

Child development 1-2 years

A lot happens in a child’s development between one and two years of age. The child begins to walk, says his first words and can increasingly share feelings and experiences with other people. During this time many children also start in preschool.

All children are unique and have their own development. But there are some characteristics and needs that are common and typical for most children in an age group. These are described here.

It can vary greatly in how children develop. To understand and recognize your child you may also need to read about the child’s development 6-12 months or about the child’s development 2-3 years.

Development is going fast at different periods

Between one and two years, development is still progressing fast in every way. But the development is different at different times and can vary greatly from child to child, even between siblings. In connection with a new period of development, the child may sometimes become anxious and change his mood. They may need more closeness than before.

At this age, it is common for one ability to develop while another stands back. For example, the child can develop a lot in his language for a period but not so much in how they move, and later it can be the other way around.

A child’s development is affected by many circumstances. There are individual conditions and events that can affect how a child develops, both in the short and longer term. For example, it may be if the child is born prematurely, has a disability or is involved in a major change in life.

You need to be active in the child’s development

The child is still completely dependent on adults. You and others who are closest to the child are very important for how the child feels, develops and relates to their surroundings. The child is influenced by how you provide closeness, encouragement and give them what they need. Then the child feels safe.

The child uses his close adults as a safe base to explore the world from.

Read more about how the child ties in and how you can socialize.

What the child thinks, understands and feels

At the age of one, children learn a lot new by doing the same thing over and over again. It can be anything from learning to pronounce a certain word to throwing a mug in the floor and seeing what happens.

Repeating things and having routines make the child feel safe and secure. Therefore, it is good to do the same or about the same. Then the child knows what is happening. For example, it is good to do the same at bedtime. Then the child knows that he should wash himself first, then brush his teeth, then read a book and finally sleep.

Many children also enjoy researching and comparing what is the same and different and sorting things together. This applies to both things and people.

The child begins to feel more like a person. It makes them, for example, both begin to feel proud of themselves, and ashamed of themselves. Adult behavior tells the child what is reasonable to feel proud of or ashamed of.

Usually the child can and does

At this age, it is common for children to do this:

  • Begins to recognize himself in the picture and in the mirror.
  • Remember where things are, for example, that the teddy bear is in the bed and that the shoes are in the hall.
  • Remember things they have experienced several months back in time.

Understand that it is on pretend

Now many children are beginning to understand things that are not here and now. It is called abstract thinking.

At this age, symbolic thinking also develops. This means, for example, that the child can understand that a word can be a symbol of a thing. Sometime between the age of 1-2 the child starts playing pretend games. It could be, for example, pretending to eat food on a plate or a block being a car. When adults or siblings play with the child, the pretense of play becomes more content, and the child understands more about the world. Then the game becomes a little more than the child’s own imagination suffices.

The child mimics what people around them do. The child can also mimic things from one environment to another. For example, they can do something at home that they have seen in preschool.

Practice solving problems

The child can now move more freely and go out to explore and discover. By researching and experimenting with things, the child can practice solving problems. It is an important way to get to know and understand what is around them. For example, it could be to fit things in boxes, feel different materials, throw and knock.

The child begins to understand that there are things one cannot and cannot do
Many children are beginning to understand that there is “right and wrong”. The child often knows that they are not allowed to do certain things, but may still want to try, for example, to plug in an electrical outlet. It is important that you protect the child from what is dangerous.

It can also be good to take away other things that you do not want the child to touch, such as the remote control for the TV. Children of this age cannot control their impulses and allow things to lie ahead, even if they begin to understand that they should not touch them.

Pilling on what you don’t get can also be a way to cuddle or get in touch with an adult, as the child notices that it often produces reactions.

Usually the child can and does

Many children between 1 and 2 years do this:

  • See similarities and differences.
  • Understand “right and wrong”.
  • Can get a picture in their head when they hear a word, without the thing being present.
  • Develop and clearly show their own will.

Children of this age can more and more convey what they feel and experience. The child can, for example, point to a car or something that they think is interesting and at the same time seek eye contact to share the experience with you. The child also uses your reactions as a reference, to know how to interpret what they see.

Many children want to be where their parents are and they imitate and imitate. It is often fun to move around among bowls and pots in the kitchen cabinets and to be able to “help” with cooking.

Children of this age may begin to perceive that others have different feelings and intentions, but still mostly rely on themselves.

The child has a strong will and tests what is okay

Children enjoy discovering. When they start walking this becomes extra fun as they can move faster and longer. When children are around one and a half, many show more self-will and desire to decide for themselves. The child sees that they can influence their surroundings with their choices and tests this over and over again.

It can be patience testing when it feels like, for example, it takes an unreasonably long time to dress for the child, to run away or when they refuse to sit in the carriage. But this is part of the development. The child can not yet understand and adapt to what you think is important to them. The child also does it to learn how to do it and to learn how to react.

The fact that children do this is training them to become independent and to be able to cooperate. Try as best you can to be patient. Children need and have the right to show strong emotions in different ways and test how adults respond to things they do.

It is also common for emotions to change as the child cannot or cannot do everything they want and want. One moment the child may be happy and the next frustrated. The child can not yet cope with all the strong feelings and needs adult help.

Encourage your child to discover by walking, climbing and moving more freely. But you need to take care of the child and protect them from dangers.

Show, explain and teach the child

The child would like you to pay attention and show that they are right or doing right. It is called to confirm the child.

Encourage the child to be curious and independent while being close and comforting when the child is disappointed or sad. It can be, for example, when the child has not got through his will or that it is not what the child has thought or tried to do. The child needs to feel loved and respected even when they are not doing what adults want. However, you do not always have to accept what the child does.

Try to explain in a simple way why the child is not allowed to do certain things. Use few words and sentences. Try to divert by getting the child to focus on something more fun.

If you need to take something the child has or is holding, you can replace the thing. For example, say “thank you, thank you” and give the child something else to play with.

Let the child choose for himself a few options

When possible, you can also encourage when the child takes his or her own initiative, it boosts self-esteem. For example, you can say yes if the child wants to read a fairy tale or let them choose which sweater to wear. At this age it is sufficient to choose between two alternatives, otherwise it may be too difficult for the child.

Want to be with other children

Children between 1 and 2 years often enjoy being close to other children. Sometimes they play together, but usually side by side. You need to provide support and help so that the children can turn around and compromise.

The child can begin to show that they understand and live in how other children feel. For example, a one-year-old may show signs of wanting to comfort another child who is crying. It is common for children to imitate the way of comfort, and to do just as the child has been comforted.

Start preschool or family daycare

Many children start at preschool or family daycare when they are about a year and a half. It’s a big change from having been home with a close adult. It is a big change for both the child and you to the child. They should be taken care of by other adults, spend time with other children and you should be separated during the day. Through schooling, the children get used to the new life. Some children may sleep more comfortably at the beginning and have a greater need for closeness when they return home. The transition usually does not take that long and usually goes well.

Sometimes more anxiety at the age of 1.5

Many one-year-olds have a period when they are less afraid of people or situations they do not know, and are happy to discover their surroundings. At about 1.5 years of age, the child may become more sensitive to separations again and need more closeness. The uncertainty can also be felt by the child suddenly not wanting to do something that they have previously liked. The child may also be worried about being left out.

This is a natural phase of development that can be clearly marked differently in different children. How cautious children are and how far they go on discovery is also influenced by the child’s temperament.

Therefore, do in much the same way every time you leave and pick up the child at the preschool, for example. It provides security and can dampen the child’s anxiety when separating.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • Provide the opportunity for fantasy games using, for example, a pretend phone, dressing clothes or a toy stove and pretend food.
  • Let the child participate in cleaning, washing, cooking and doing other everyday chores.
  • Many children like give-and-take games and it is a way to practice playing in play. Build towers together and take turns laying bricks. Say “thank you” and “please” when you give and take things from each other.
  • Help the child put words to what they feel: “You’re angry that the tower collapsed, let’s build a new one.”
  • Help the child overcome frustration by showing how to do it. “You may not take the car from Selma, but you can ask if you can borrow it.”
  • Encourage the child when they do things that themselves and others feel good about.

Language, speech and communication

Children usually say their first words around the age of one, but it is very different when children start talking. Many children have a period from about one and a half to two years of age when vocabulary increases rapidly. On average, girls talk a little earlier than boys. But the differences are greater between different children than between girls and boys.

In the beginning, words can mean both more or less than they do for adults. For example, the word “doggie” can be used for all four-legged animals, or the word “bottle” can only be used for a baby bottle.

A child aged one year usually uses single words that mean a whole sentence. “Dad” can mean “Dad, I want food”.

Many children have their own words and expressions for different things.

At this age, the child understands more and more, and soon they understand most of what you talk about in everyday life. During the whole time children learn languages, they understand many more words than they can say.

The child points and shows

The child can become frustrated and angry about not being able to understand. A large part of the child’s communication takes place through gestures and, for example, pointing them. Pointing can mean that the child wants something, wants to show you something, wonders about something and wants to explore something.

As the child grows older, they increasingly use pointing, sounds and eyes, and then it becomes easier to understand what they want with their pointing. By listening to the child, having eye contact with the child, and figuring out what the child wants, they learn to express themselves better. The child receives confirmation that adults understand, and that means that the language develops.

Repeat what the child says

Repeat what the child has said, preferably with a correct short sentence or as a question. By using the child’s own words and adding new ones, you help the child develop their language. If the child says “ka”, you can say: “Yes, it is a cat, do you want to pet the cat?”. Do not correct if the child says wrong.

Understand and try the word no

Many children discover and understand the meaning of the word “no” when they are about a year old. They can repeat adults ‘no’ in different situations. The child tries to make progress by using the word, but for that matter always means to say no. It is a first step in showing one’s own will and independence.

The words at the beginning

The first words are usually names of things that are of great importance to the child, such as “mom”, “dad”, “doggie” and “shoe”. Some children may put together short sentences at the end of the second year of life, usually two words, for example “have it” or “mom car”. The child uses words to express needs, such as “drinking.” The child can also use words for emotions. Towards the end of this period, it is also common for children to say “my” and “my”.

Around the age of two, many children can speak from 50 words to hundreds of words, but this varies greatly. Some may have more words, others fewer.

Listen, talk and tell

By listening to and talking a lot with the child, you not only stimulate the child’s language development, but also how they can think for themselves. For example, you can tell about what the child sees and what you experience together.

From the child himself, for example, see or point to and put words into it. Adapt to the child’s level, repeat and interpret what the child says.

Look in books together

The child’s language and how they can communicate develops by reading and by looking at books together, and by talking about what you see in the pictures. Children of this age often like to hear the same stories several times. Recognizing what is being addressed is important for the child. Gathering around something and talking about what you see also strengthens your relationship.

If you speak several languages ​​at home

For a child with multiple languages, language development takes place in the same way as for children with a language. Multilingual children start speaking at the same time as monolinguals. The child is best in the language it uses most and that it can vary in different ages. It is common for children to mix their languages ​​at times.

Various media and screens

There are different perceptions about how television and different media affect children. Children of this age do not need to use media at all. The recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) is that children under two years have no screen time at all. Children under two years learn best by being with others. Screens do not provide as much stimulation and make the child passive.

It is important that the time in front of the screen does not replace the time when you are together, or replace the time when the child is allowed to move and play outdoors. Many television programs, video games and computer games that are adapted to the child’s age and ability can be fun. But there is not much support because they are good for the child’s development.

If your child is allowed to use screens and media of various kinds, be sure to customize that child to look for their personality and what you believe they can handle. It can differ between children of the same age. Look with the child, talk about what you see and experience. Keep in mind that children can be scared of things you don’t think they are scared of.

Do not allow children to watch news programs or adult films with violence. Turn off unpleasant background noise.

Think about how you use media yourself when you are with your child. Children do as adults do.

Usually the child can and does

It is common for children between one and two years to do this:

  • Say their first words around the age of one.
  • Saying more and more words. At the age of two, many children can between 50 and several hundred words.
  • Combines sentences with two words. This is most common at about two years of age.
  • Can pick up a thing if you ask for it, such as the teddy bear.
  • Can point out body parts when you, for example, ask “Where is the nose?”.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • Read books with short texts, point to and talk about what is in the pictures.
  • Please sing and read rams and stories over and over again. Fingering can enhance what you tell or sing, such as “Imse Vimse Spindel”.
  • Talk to the child a lot. If the child is shy or quiet, you can put words into what the child is doing, without requiring the child to respond.
  • Listen to the child. Be patient and try to understand what they are saying.
  • Repeat, develop and explain what the child says. For example, if the child says “Melwin down” you can say “Yes, you went down all by yourself”. Then the child knows that you have listened and understood and you help the child develop their language.
  • Let the child be with you and say what you do together in everyday life. “Now we will split the green cucumber and put in the small bowl”.

The body and how the child moves

At this age, children need to move a lot. They often take their first steps. They think it is fun to explore the surroundings. By moving, the child exercises and makes it easier to use his body. She learns to control movements and do more things at the same time with multiple body parts.

Moves a lot

The first steps are often a bit broad and stiff, but the child learns with time to walk, run, climb and jump. When the child can move himself more and more, they also become more independent.

The child likes to climb on chairs, get up on kitchen desks, pull out drawers and open cupboards. It is important and fun for children to explore and discover the outside world in this way. To reduce the dangers, for example, insert child safety locks into cabinets and drawers with knives and other dangerous contents.

The child can now often build towers of bricks and then tear it down again.

She likes to draw lines and holds crayons and pens with her whole hand.

At this age, the child begins to examine things more with his fingers rather than with his mouth. At the age of 1, the so-called tweezers are fully developed. This means that the child uses his thumb against his fingertip, and is now one of the child’s most important tools.

Sometimes some of the development stops

During periods when the child learns to move a lot, other developments may temporarily stop. For example, the child may not develop his or her speech during that period. The child can therefore become quieter than usual for a short time.


Children can now make the jaw, teeth and tongue move simultaneously and together. Children often chew and snack with their mouth open. Most children can drink from a cup themselves. They can hold the plate with one hand and the spoon in the other.

The child is getting better at eating himself, but often likes to take in the food with his hands. It is part of the development to understand the outside world. The child needs to both taste and feel the food.

Usually the child can and does

At this age, many children begin to do this:

  • Go, and start running.
  • Standing on the toe.
  • Kicks the ball.
  • Climbs on sofas and other furniture and goes down without help.
  • Goes up and down stairs if there is a bar to stay in.
  • Draws a line.
  • Removes cap and socks.

Tips on what you can do

Here are some tips on what can be fun at this age:

  • A learn-to-go cart is fun and useful. Once the child has learned to walk, they can use the trolley to drive things in.
  • The sandbox can be a fun playground where the child can feel their hands, dig, pour and empty sand.
  • Build towers of blocks together with the child. You can then play bowling by rolling a ball against the tower.
  • It can be good with a place where the child can jump and climb without hurting himself. It is enough to have a bed or a sofa with a mat and pillows below.

If you need support

Seek help if you need support, have questions or feel anxious about your child’s development.

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