Understanding Toddler Growth
Your toddler’s growth rate begins to slow from around 12 months old, although their height and weight will continue to steadily increase. It is important to track your toddler’s length and weight as this is one of the key indicators of healthy growth. Often this will happen at your child health nurse appointments.
You will notice your toddler is more on the move and with this increased activity their body fat begins to change in to lean muscle – unless of course their diet is unbalanced and their intake is not matched by what they burn off through activity.
As your toddler gets older 24-36 months, they will desire to be more independent– tantrums may increase as boundaries and rules are reinforced. It is important to have boundaries and rules even though your toddler will do their best to break them.
Your toddler doesn’t understand the need to eat regular servings of nutritious food and get sleep to have energy and maintain co-ordination – that is your job and why routines can be important. Whingy and clingy behaviour escalates when days aren’t balanced as the risk of inadequate sleep and food intake is increased.
What you can do to help your toddler grow
- Offer healthy food options;
- Offer water or milk, instead of juice or fizzy drinks;
- Avoid processed foods, foods high in sugar and takeaways as much as possible;
- Follow a routine and continue rest time during the day even if your toddler doesn’t actually sleep, toddlers love consistency;
- Encourage physical activity;
- Limit television and electronic games under 2 years old and restrict time spent watching television from two years old;
- Your toddler will need around 12 – 14 hours of sleep a day (many toddlers may still have a daytime nap);
- Provide your toddler with opportunities to play and explore safely – they have no concept of danger and need protection from injury;
- Encourage and praise your little ones efforts;
- Have your toddler help you with simple physical activities around the house, such as sweeping the floor and washing up and putting away their clothes. Turn learning a new skill into a game so that it’s fun for both of you.