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Your Child’s Development: 2.5 Years (30 Months)

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
  • Listen

Are you amazed by the new things your toddler says each day? Less than a year ago, your little one said only a few words — now it's likely that they're speaking in 3-word sentences.

Your toddler's growing vocabulary includes a couple hundred words. Reading, songs, and nursery rhymes are fun ways to build on growing language skills.

Doctors use certain milestones to tell if a toddler is developing as expected. There's a wide range of what's considered normal, so some children gain skills earlier or later than others. Toddlers who were born prematurely may reach milestones later. Talk with your doctor about your child's progress.

Here are some things your toddler might be doing:

Communication and Language Skills

  • says 3- to 4-word sentences
  • uses pronouns (I, me, you)
  • asks many "What?" and "Where?" questions
  • explains things

Movement and Physical Development 

  • washes and dries hands
  • brushes teeth with help
  • pulls pants up with help
  • jumps in place
  • throws a ball overhand

Social and Emotional Development

  • enjoys pretend play
  • starts to play with, not just next to, other kids
  • can tell you when they need a diaper change or have to go to the potty 
  • refers to himself or herself by name

Cognitive Skills (Thinking and Learning)

  • begins to develop a sense of humor (e.g., thinks that silly things, like a story about a barking cat, are funny)
  • understands the concept of 1 item or thing (e.g., "Give me 1 block.")
  • names some common animals and objects

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Every child develops at their own pace, but some signs could indicate a delay in development. Talk to your doctor if your child:

  • doesn't engage in pretend play
  • doesn't speak, or makes vowel sounds but no consonants or words
  • doesn't recognize simple emotions (happy, sad) in others
  • doesn't follow simple directions

Also, if you ever notice that your child has lost skills or shows weakness on one side of the body, tell your doctor.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: January 2021