Common milestones for the average 34 month old toddler…
Your energetic 34 month old is getting into EVERYTHING and repeating everything you say? Is this normal? Of course, your child is in a crucial stage of their development. It is an intense time of learning and growth.
By now, you child should be able to name at least a few colors and shapes and may be even recognize certain letters. They may be able to recognize the first letter of their name at this point as well. They will be able to converse in 3-4 sentences at this time and are eager to talk to anyone who will listen to them.
They should have a pretty extensive vocabulary of almost 550 words by this point. They will still become aggravated at times if they are unable to clearly express what they are trying to say. It is important that you remain patient and understand that they are doing the best they can to express themselves. It is a period of learning and adjusting for both parent and child.
Social and emotional development
Your toddler is becoming very social at this point and time. They are making new friends and are engaging in a variety of new activities. They are beginning to better grasp the concept of sharing as they start to have more social interactions.
Their little personalities are really beginning to shine through as they approach their third birthday. It is important that you let your child express their own individuality as this helps them develop a sense of self-awareness, higher self esteem and confidence. They may start to “mimic” adult behaviors in their play such as playing “doctor” or “house.”
You should definitely involve your child in as many activities as possible. From cooking and baking to simple household chores to minor decisions as what to eat for dinner and what outfit to wear the next day. It is important that your child develop social skills in the home environment as well as when away from home.
Gross motor skills
Your toddler is a ball of energy at this point. He or she will constantly want to climb, run, jump and explore. It is important to set rules and boundaries for your child’s safety, especially as they are learning to open and close doors at this point. You may want to check your child safety locks and be especially careful around doors so they don’t try to escape or get their fingers pinched in doors as they open and close.
Fine motor skills
Your child should be able to better control their uses of scissors at this time and may be able to cut a paper in half. They are able to string more beads and grasp smaller objects. They still may be putting things in their mouth occasionally so it is important to be extremely cautious of choking hazards. They are engaging in more “creative” play with items such as Playdough and may start to tell stories through their artwork. Again it’s important to have a wide variety of age appropriate arts and crafts items for your child.
They should be able to draw a self-portrait at this time and may even try to draw pictures of their peers and other family members as well.
At 34 months your child is beginning to comprehend and follow more complex directions.They will be asking endless questions at this point as they are just little sponges soaking up information so be prepared for the constant barricade of “why?” that is totally appropriate for children within this age range.
They are able to recognize certain letters and can name more objects on flash cards. Their memory is developing at a rapid rate and they are beginning to have a better grasp on present and past tense, although it may not be totally clear at this point.
How to cope with night terrors
Night terrors are disruptions in sleep similar to those of a nightmare, but with a much higher intensity. While they are alarming, they are quite common and not a sign of a medical issue. They are quite common in toddlers 24 months to 4 years.
Night terrors tend to occur about 2-3 hours after a child has fallen into a deep sleep and are believed to occur during non REM sleep. They are not actually a nightmare but a sudden fear or reaction as your child is transitioning between sleep phases.
Your child might suddenly sit up in bed and scream out in fear,their breath and heartbeat may slightly increase or they may begin to trash around. Night terrors usually only last for a few moments and your child will return to a peaceful sleep. You, however, may be more traumatized than they are. Your child will have no recognition of the night terror the next morning, although you will remember every moment.
You should not try to awaken your child during these episodes as it is sometimes difficult to wake them up and even more difficult to get them to fall back into a calm sleep. They will just be disoriented and confused and it may stress them out even more.
There is no known treatment for night terrors but here are some ways to help prevent them. You can calm your child before bedtime and make sure they are not stressed. You can also make sure that they are well-rested during the day and make sure to establish and stick to strict bedtimes and a solid bedtime routine. Do not overstimulate them before bed.
Remember these are common and they too will pass!