Children go through a staggering growth at this age. They can speak simple sentences or broken sentences with simple words. They can now recognise themselves in the mirror and say ‘no’ to food or bedtime. You can read out stories to them and explain ideas as they are able to understand simple concepts. They enjoy listening to music and often dance to them, imitating steps they may have seen. They can now identify animals, fruits, vegetables and other common things, when shown in the book.
According to the famous developmental researcher, Jean Piaget, “Children at this age, are in the sensorimotor period. They learn and grow from the common actions and senses. This means that their understanding of things is limited to the things they can perceive in their immediate surroundings. After this comes the pre-operational stage”.
In the pre-operational stage, toddlers learn to use symbols and also process the words they hear from others. Hence a sense of language develops and they pick up the language spoken to them most frequently. They can imitate complex actions and also develop a vivid sense of imagination. Story-telling at this stage boosts their imaginative skills and children often ask questions based on the stories.
They can solve simple puzzles, understand the difference in sizes and can also count one to ten. Their reflexes are also well-developed and they are able to think before acting. Like they may stand on the bed and try to jump off the bed, but they will think that they might get hurt and so refrain from doing it. Their memory is also well-developed and thus they repeat past actions or behaviour. They can identify what belongs to whom. Like they will know which is their mother’s saree, or father’s shoe. They, however, cannot grasp abstract words. They also do not have any understanding of time except that they know when there is light, it is day and the absence of light means it is night. You can play various games with them to see how they rapidly learn the steps and soon learn to do it by themselves.
However, if your baby is not responding as much as he should, you can consult a speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist. Not all babies start talking early, so there is nothing to worry as long as he is active and playing and progressively responding well to what you are saying.