21 month old milestones

Your toddler's 21 month old milestones are found in all sorts of places now. Your little one is probably interested in different types of role playing fun!

He's helping with tasks around the house, getting dressed and sometimes choosing their own clothes, brushing their teeth and perhaps are beginning to tell you when they need the toilet. They are on their way to becoming a fully-grown little boy or girl.


21 month old milestones: Growth and moving around

You are probably kept very busy through your toddler's constant activity. Physical challenges are very exciting for 21 month olds, and they will like to try new ones all the time. Because you can't watch your toddler every minute of the day, try to eliminate any potential hazards. Secure furniture like tables that might topple if climbed on, and make sure bookcases are fixed to the walls.


21 month old milestones: Toilet training

Going to the toilet unaided means they can eventually attend school and this is a big step in your toddler's growing independence. Between 18 months and 2 years, you can begin to think about starting to use the toilet, and they will now recognise when they need it. Sometimes it might be just too late before he realises what's happening, but he is getting closer to reaching the toilet.


21 month old milestones: Games, playing and toys

Toddlers are a bundle of activity and you will need plenty of games and toys prepared to keep them busy. Here are CaptainMums’ top toys and games for toddlers:

  • Let your toddler pretend: make a cup of tea or play shop, chat on the phone to someone they know, cook a delicious cake, dress-up as a scary pirate, drive a train in the garden – or look after their favourite baby, who's sick. Copying grown-ups and using their imagination is one of your toddler's favourite things to do and they will love playing these games with you.
  • Musical toys: bashing and banging is probably a daily activity for your toddler at the moment. Channel this energy in drums, tambourines, xylophones or cymbals.
  • Books: try the local library or a book sharing group to keep your child continually entertained and learning. They can never have too many books and will probably have developed stories or characters that are firm favourites at bedtime.


21 month old milestones: Temper tantrums

Temper tantrums can be very frustrating for your toddler and you as a parent – especially if they occur in your local supermarket! The best thing to do during a temper tantrum is to keep your cool and stay close to your child until his feelings of frustration pass. A hug or sympathy may be all some toddlers need, though others will need a distraction. Try pointing to something exciting happening around you or find an interesting toy for them to have a look at. 

As time goes on, you'll probably develop a variety of different strategies to try when your toddler has a tantrum. Being able to assert their will is part of development and should be seen as a totally natural stage. Sometimes he may demand things that he doesn't want, and might even try throwing himself on the floor if he doesn't get his way. Though this can be unsettling, try to keep a sense of humour. Toddlers can be very funny at the same time as being frustrating!

If you do find yourself in the post office or someone's house when a tantrum happens, if you can, try to take your toddler somewhere more quiet. This should help him calm down and be less aggravated by busy surroundings. 


21 month old milestones: Sharing

Social graces are not high on your toddler's agenda. He has just learnt about possession so having to give things up is hard. Toddlers of this age also don't understand time very well, so even when reassured he'll get his toy back, it may not be clear to him. Get your child to learn how to share with you first. Ask "Can I have a turn?" and your toddler will start to get an idea of what sharing means.

Praise: When they do eventually offer a toy to another baby or friend make sure to say: 'Well done!'. Remember, it isn't necessarily a good idea to make your toddler share or give up his toys whenever there are visitors and new playmates. This may cause them to develop negative associations with visitors and find sharing much harder long-term. 

When a new playmate visits, try to put out toys with lots of pieces like blocks, and leave them to work out who will play with what. Sharing will probably develop naturally and, if it doesn't, try the steps above by asking either little one to let their friend have a turn and vice versa.


21 month old milestones: New foods

Offer new foods in small amounts and above all be patient. It's normal for your toddler to see and taste a new food lots of times before they learn to like and accept it. Studies have shown that some toddlers need to be given a new food more than 10 times before they will accept it. Make sure you persevere! Remember, your toddler will refuse extra food when he's full. He is likely to be eating the right amount of food for his own needs if he is growing and developing normally. If you have any worries about fussy eating, visit your GP for more advice.


Making friends and sharing, going to the toilet on their own, playing and role playing: these 21 month old milestones mean your toddler is well on his way to becoming a fully grown little boy!