Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families Early Experiences Matter

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From Baby to Big Kid

An e-newsletter that showcases how children learn and grow each month from birth to 3 years. From Baby to Big Kid translates the science of early childhood and offers strategies parents can tailor to their unique family situation and to the needs of their child.
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School Readiness

0-12 Months12-2424-36
Language and LiteracyThinkingSelfSelf

12-24 Months

Young toddlers are little scientists. They are eager to figure out how everything works.  This makes the second year an exciting one, as children really begin to venture out into the world to explore, discover, and learn. 

One of the things that make this year so much fun is that toddlers are becoming more and more effective at communicating.  (In fact, “No!” becomes a favorite word and a powerful way to assert their independence.)  By the end of their second year, they will even be making simple sentences, like “more milk” or “want that”.  Toddlers have minds of their own, and strong feelings and preferences that they express with gusto.  This is the time when your child might develop a favorite story they want to hear over and over, or a favorite game or toy they want to play nonstop. 

Remember:  If your child is interested and involved in an activity—and having fun—he is learning!  It isn’t necessary to “teach” very young children.  Formal classes and other activities that push toddlers to learn concepts before they are ready do not help their development or make them do better in school. In fact, they can even make children feel like failures when they are pushed to do something they can’t succeed at or don’t enjoy.  So treasure these days of playing, exploring, and cuddling with your little one—it is exactly what she needs to grow and learn.

To read more about children’s early learning skills from 12 to 24 months, choose one of the topic areas—Language & Literacy, Thinking Skills, Self-Control and Self Confidence—above.

To learn more about how children develop in the first three years, choose one of the age ranges—birth to 12 and 24-36 months—above.

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