Your child’s second year of life….and 3 simple things we, as parents, can do to give them a head start in their physical, cognitive and social-emotional development:

If you have a child between 12 and 24 months then this one is for you, but actually these 3 simple things are really beneficial for any preschool aged child if you are wanting to give them a head start in learning and development!

Your child’s second year of life is a wonderful time of discovery and independence. They will begin to really move, explore, experiment and try to make sense of the world around them. Life becomes very busy! This is both a very exciting and challenging year for parents as your child really starts to find their own voice! But it is not just exhausting for us parents, this is a huge period of growth and learning for your child and they can easily end up exhausted and in tears of frustration due to the sheer amount of learning and growth that is taking place inside them.

Sometimes just making sure our little ones are clean, dressed and fed each day can be overwhelming enough, but if you are wondering how they should be developing during this time and how best you can you support them during this huge time of growth, have a read below:


Between 12 and 24 months your child is really learning to become more physically independent. At 12 months your baby can usually stand without support and is moving towards taking their first independent steps if they haven’t already. At first this will look a bit like a penguin waddle, by 18 months they will be walking with feet wide apart and arms held high to maintain balance and be able walk upstairs too. By 24 months they will not only be walking with more sophistication, but will also become more physically daring – running, jumping and climbing.

How can we help?
Here’s the 1st simple thing…

Research shows that the brain prioritises movement from an early age in order to LEARN!

Allowing your child the independence to explore and experience life in their own body and in their own way, will lay the foundation needed for their physical and cognitive development! Dancing, climbing, playing and exploring new terrain independently are all wonderful ways in which to support your child’s physical development.

Exploring a variety of movement concepts through creative dance is a wonderful way to get your child to practice movements outside their common range of motion. Simple obstacle courses like those during the sensory play section of Intellidance classes will also allow your toddler to explore new ways of moving their bodies in relation to their environment too!


At 12 months your baby’s attention span is slowly increasing which helps with their independence and concentration skills when performing tasks. Your baby’s use and understanding of language is developing at a very rapid rate and they may even speak 2-5 recognizable words. This will increase to 10-50 words at 18 months and 50-300 words at 24 months. At 24 months they generally should also be able to create simple 2-5 word phrases and sentences. The more your toddler’s vocabulary increases the more they will be able to make their needs understood which will help them to become less mentally frustrated.

How can we Help?
Here’s the 2nd simple thing…

Recent studies on fostering successful learning in the first 1000 days of life show the critical importance of early language exposure. The more we talk and sing to our babies, the more likely they will be able to grow and develop in a way that maximises brain development.

Research has shown a strong link between early language skills and later success in reading and writing skills at school and in particular the link between learning songs and rhymes that help with phonological awareness which is needed to develop all these skills.

Songs, rhymes and poems set the foundation for your baby’s and toddler’s brain to recognize and learn the sounds and patterns of language. Intellidance activities such as our finger and lap play section of class are a wonderful way to nurture this development. Check out our FUN AT HOME FRIDAYS videos on Facebook for lots of wonderful rhymes and songs to try out at home!


Your child is also going through huge social-emotional development during this year as they become more independent beings. At 12 months your baby starts to read other people’s emotions and is excited to see people they know, especially their caregivers. They play more purposefully now and may even bring others toys and objects in attempts to play. By 18 months your child enjoys exploring the world independently, continues to love cuddles, hugs and kisses and can be quite shy or fearful of strangers. They may also be showing a special attachment to a special toy. By 24 months your child will be able to express emotions with simple words and be aware of other’s emotions. They may enjoy playing around other children, but may not play with them and will still struggle to share.

How can we Help?
Here’s the 3rd simple thing…

During this year of such huge growth it is easy for your toddler to get frustrated, which can lead to tantrums. It is important to continue to encourage them, praising their strengths rather than focusing on any weakness.

It is also important to have realistic expectations as a parent, for example, it is normal for your child to not be able to share, to struggle to follow directions or concentrate for long periods of time etc.

Setting realistic expectations, modelling good behavior yourself and having structure and routine will all help to deal with this challenging time for both parent and child.

Focused time with a loving caregiver outside of the usual day to day routines, is also another wonderful way to foster social and emotional development. Music, dance and group activities which allow for fun and exploration with others offer multiple opportunities to connect, play and learn together!

What to expect in dance class…

I absolutely love teaching the Intellidance Tykes class for 1-2 year olds because it is such a fun and busy time full of growth and learning! At Intellidance we understand that each child will enjoy an activity at their own pace and in their own way depending on their age and stage of development!

With busy little ones in mind Intellidance® Tykes focuses on nurturing language, gross motor, and emotional and social development, through movement concepts, circle dances, free exploration, songs and rhymes, and sensory activities. Caregivers will delight in watching their little ones curiosity and joy making friends and socializing with others.

Our Intellidance Tykes programme for 1-2 year olds currently takes place at Dance Co Studio in Pinelands on Fridays from 11:15am – 12:00pm & Fridays from 2:30pm-3:15pm.

Please do let me know if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you!


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