Magic of Everyday Moments - Chart on everyday ways to learn (24-36 months)

Based on content from ZERO TO THREE®: National Center for Infants, Toddler and Families.

For every age range, there are important developmental milestones. Learn "What to expect" and "What you can do" to enrich your baby's learning through everyday routines and interactions.

What to expect between 24 to 36 months

Oh Brother!

What To Expect:
Or Sister! If your toddler was an only child, a new sibling might be on the way or already in the picture. This is a wonderful gift, but can also bring some challenges.

What You Can Do:

  • Prepare your child with books about a new baby and having siblings.
  • Let her help you care for the baby.
  • Make special time for each of your children.

I'm Scared!

What To Expect:
Your toddler's imagination is blossoming, but he is often not sure about the difference between reality and fantasy. This may lead to new fears.

What You Can Do:

  • Help him talk about his fears. Putting feelings into words can help him understand and feel in control of them. Knowing how he feels will also help you provide the reassurance he needs.
  • Never belittle your child or his fears. This may lead to increased fearfulness.

Let me try

What To Expect:
Your toddler is becoming capable of doing more and more things by himself.

What You Can Do:

  • Provide opportunities for him to do some things on his own--get dressed, brush his teeth, even use the potty and wash his hands.
  • Have him use his skills to help around the house-putting away clothes, setting the table, or picking up leaves in the yard. This will help him feel important.

I'm unique

What To Expect:
Your child is beginning to notice similarities and differences among people.

What You Can Do:

  • Help your child understand and appreciate his own culture and background, as well as those of others. Talk respectfully about others who are different from you.
  • Expect some embarrassing moments when your child comments on a difference he notices. Use them as opportunities to explain, without judgment, that people are different in many ways - size, skin color, style of dress, etc.

Batteries not included (or necessary!)

What To Expect:
You may be tempted to buy specialized toys, games, or videos, especially those that claim to make your baby smarter.

What You Can Do:

  • Resist the urge to buy based on product claims.
  • Choose toys that encourage imagination and that will "grow" with your child like books, play food, dolls, toy animals, and crayons.
  • Remember-you are her favorite toy!

Catch Me If You Can

What To Expect:
Your child can do a lot with his body: run, jump, climb, spin, and now even play on riding toys and tricycles.

What You Can Do:

  • Limit t.v. time and head outside. Take hikes, walk to the playground, or throw the ball.
  • Talk about up, down, over, under, high, and low as you play. Go up and down the slide, climb over and run under the jungle gym.

Now You're Talkin'

What To Expect:
After waiting all this time for your child to talk, you may wonder when your 2-year-old will ever stop. She now uses longer sentences--and talks anytime, anywhere.

What You Can Do:

  • Keep the conversation going. Talk about what you are doing together. Ask her about her thoughts and ideas. "What part did you like in the book?" "Why do you think the bear was sad?"
  • Read books, sing songs, and play rhyming games with real and nonsense words. This helps develop language skills.


What To Expect:
"Why" may become one of her favorite new words because your curious toddler is learning about the logical connections between things. She begins to understand, "If I write with crayon on the walls, mommy take the crayon away!"

What You Can Do:

  • When your child asks, "Why?" ask her for her ideas before you answer. This builds her thinking skills. It also helps you know how much information she needs. A simple response might be all that is necessary.
  • Be patient with the many questions that come. Understanding the "why" of things is a big leap in your child's thinking.