21 Month Old Baby Development Milestones

Now that your little one is walking and even running short distances on flat surfaces confidently, it’s likely you will see him trying to jump for the first time sometime this month. Here are some of the 21 month old baby development milestones you should expect in your child.

In this article:

  1. Physical Development Milestones
  2. Cognitive Development Milestones
  3. Social & Emotional Development Milestones
  4. Language & Communication Milestones
  5. What You Can Do As Parents?
  6. 21 Month Old Toddler Behaviour
  7. Baby Care for Your 21 Month Old

Physical Development Milestones

  • Your toddler is getting better at both walking and running short distances confidently.
  • You will often see him trying to jump, as he wants to stretch him physical limits beyond running. He may be able to the going down part of the jump but probably not the lifting his foot off the ground as much.
  • Can kick a ball standing and with intention.
  • Will flip electrical switches on and off repeatedly (yes it can get annoying at times but definitely not for him, as from his world view, it is kind of ‘magic’).
  • Can hold and use a spoon, pen or a marker better than ever.
  • Will push or pull furniture or even large toys like a toy car, a wagon or a baby stroller.
  • Can squat on the floor and stay squatted for a while without difficulty.
  • Is getting better at opening door knobs, winding keys of a toy and turning bottle caps open or close.

Cognitive Development Milestones

  • Can identify animals and birds in the real world from the pictures he say in books. Will also be able to identify people whose faces he saw in the family albums.
  • Your child is growing in terms of his senses. This makes him even more curious about how different things smell, taste, look, feel and sound. Most of all, he will be curious about how things work.
  • Will pretend-play now and then. For instance, he may take a small bowl or bucket and hold it upside down above his head like a hat, knowing well it is not but since it looks like one.
  • Give him anything upside down and he will hold it the right side up, be it forks, spoons, crayons, pens or a book.
  • Can distinguish items that belong to him from those that belong to others.
  • Will be able to stack 4 to 6 blocks one on top of the other.
  • Can distinguish the relative size of objects that look similar, like which ball is big and which one is small, for instance.

Social & Emotional Development Milestones

  • Unlike earlier, your toddler will be more willing to share his toys or things with others, especially kids he likes to play with.
  • May begin to become more mindful of other people and their presence around him.
  • Copies your actions, like patting the cheeks, holding ears, covering the eyes, opening the mouth, etc.
  • Will try to be independent doing regular daily activities by himself, like feeding, brushing teeth, getting dressed, arranging toys, putting dirty clothes into the washing machine, etc.
  • Will join you to carry out household chores like mopping, wiping his own spills, etc. May sometimes do it specifically with the intention to help you, like putting away meal dishes, clearing and cleaning the dining table, etc.
  • Experiences relatively reduced separation anxiety these days and can go through brief spans of being separated from you in the presence of a caregiver.

Language & Communication Milestones

  • Your little can point out to parts on the bod like eyes, nose, teeth, feet, hand, etc.
  • Will use 2 or 3-word expressions to indicate how he feels and represent his different ideas.
  • Follows short instructions well, like “get down”, “don’t go out” or “bring your ball”, etc.
  • Can say 8 to 10 words other than ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ and understand up to 8 times more words than he can speak.
  • Depends more on his vocabulary and less on his sounds and gestures to communicate his feelings.

What You Can Do As Parents?

  • To encourage him to talk more, just acknowledge what he is saying, even if you can’t grant his request. For instance, you could say, “I know you want to go out now, but we can’t because it is time for your nap. We will go later.” This way, you make him know that you did understand what he wants and that he deserves a reply from you.
  • Do whatever you can to encourage your child practice jumping. It can be something as simple as helping him position himself well before a jump or laying cushions of furniture on the floor
  • Give him things upside down often and check if he is holding it the right side up. This is also a small but a subtle way to build his patience and perseverance.
  • Once in a while, set up objects and furniture in the room in such a way that he has to navigate around to reach where he wants to.
  • Introduce caregivers starting with someone in the close family. Make him get used to being with them for 30 to 45 minutes and gradually increase the duration over time.
  • Give him bottles with the cap closed neither too tightly nor is too loose, such that he can put a little effort and open it. This will also give him a small sense of accomplishment about his abilities. You may also top it off with a little appreciation.

21 Month Old Toddler Behaviour

First things first, temper tantrums are normal for toddlers his age. You need to therefore remember that while it is important that your child behaves in a disciplined manner, there is no need to get too anxious about his tantrums.

One of the best ways to do away with your anxiety is to look at discipline not from the point of making him do what you want him to do, but rather from teaching and making him understand what acceptable behaviour is and where his boundaries lie.

This way you not only to set the expectations right but also lay the foundations to help him grow into a responsible and independent person.

This is also a good time to start replacing commands or instructions with constructive conversations. This encourages him respond amicably rather than reacting impulsively, at least in most if not all situations.

For instance, if it’s time for his afternoon nap but he wants to go out, instead of saying “No, you’re not going out now. It’s time for your nap“, you may choose to say “Come let us first read a nice book together, take a small nap and then go outside later.” In both cases, your intentions are the same, but the difference lies in the way you choose to communicate it.

While it is indeed necessary to establish norms for good behaviour, it is also important that they are as few in number as possible. After all, your child is still only a toddler and there is only so much he can remember.

Most of all, even when he ends up repeating doing something that could be harmful to him, take conscious efforts to assure him that you still love him and that he means a lot to you. For instance, you may say “I already told you not to do that. Remember?” and then gently reassure him by saying “Please do not do it again. I love you”. It’s that simple.

Baby Care for Your 21 Month Old

  • Establish a bedtime routine for him and stick to it. This is an effective way to make him expect what is coming up next as per the daily routine.
  • Ensure that a choice of healthy veggies and fruits are included across your child’s daily meal so that he gets all the nutrition he needs for his growth.
  • As toddlers usually imitate grown-ups, it is actually easy to help your child develop good manners. How? By displaying good behaviour yourself. If there is one thing all parents should remember, it is this: Children learn what they see.
  • By now, it is expected that you must’ve child-proofed your home thoroughly by padding sharp corners of furniture, shelves, cabinets, etc. and shielding all the power points.
  • This is also the right time to encourage your little one to adopt the habit of brushing his teeth.
  • Since he is well into toddlerhood not a baby anymore, you can reduce baby talk a little and speak to him normally at most times. This helps him develop a larger vocabulary and give him a choice of words to communicate better.
  • Always buy him only age-appropriate toys. This not only ensures that they are safe for him, it also aids in his cognitive development.

This is the right time to start getting consistent in demonstrating patience with your toddler, especially when you see him faltering and demonstrating aggressive behaviour. Yes it is not easy. But it also means that it is not impossible (to demonstrate patience). Patience too, comes from practice.

Note: Each baby is different and therefore tends to grow at a different pace. Chances are that your little one may have crossed certain milestones already, or is probably a little behind on a few others, which is normal. If you still feel there is something of concern, do speak to your paediatrician/registered professional child healthcare provider.