Month 23

Toddler Development:Your 23-month-old


Separation anxiety, mimicking, and being able to follow instructions are just some of the things you might notice in your toddler at this age. Read on to get to know your fast developing 23-month-old a lot better!

Physical Development

Gross Motor Skills

You’ll notice that your 23 month old is starting to stand on tiptoes, kick balls, and throw balls. He is also more confident running on his own. 

He can climb up and down furniture and steps with little to no help. Unstructured play and dramatic play can help tots at this age develop physically and cognitively. 


  • Make sure to child-proof your home to keep your little climber safe. Bolt down tall dressers and drawers and keep furniture away from windows, especially if you live in a high-rise building.
  • Get him a ball and kick it back and forth with him. Not only will this hone his motor skills, it could be a great chance to bond with your active tot. 
  • Take him for walks in the park or playground, where he can explore, grasp, and climb. Remember to watch him closely as he runs around. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

  • If your child struggles to kick or stand on tiptoes, consult your doctor to make sure he is developing at a proper rate.

Fine Motor Skills

Look closely, 23-month-olds already start to show that they can build cube towers, form these cubes into trains, copy lines drawn horizontally, draw in circular strokes, and use a spoon without spilling too much! 


  • Sit down and engage in art projects with your little one. 
  • When reading books, ask him to help you turn the page.
  • You can also start giving him puzzles, which not only enhance fine motor skills, but his ability to visualise patterns and mimic images.
  • Ask him to carry things for you to foster his ability to help – as well as fine motor skills like grasping and clutching.

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

  • If your tot finds it impossible to grasp objects, like balls, crayons, and pencils, consult your child’s paediatrician.

src=https://sg content/uploads/sites/12/2018/05/toddler with toy 2 1.jpg Toddler development and milestones: your 23 month old

When it comes to 23 month old toddler development, it’s important to know that your little one’s memory is flourishing. | Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Cognitive Development

Aside from a budding vocabulary, your child’s memory is also flourishing at this stage. Your 23 month old is showing signs of understanding the concept of object permanence. For instance, he can remember if he left a toy in his room.

He can also perform simple problem-solving, grasp the concept of time, and visualise objects in his mind. He’s like a little sponge, so make sure he only soaks up the good stuff! 


  • Your child may show signs of artistic inclination. Encourage this by giving him crayons, clay, or non-toxic watercolours to play with.
  • Enhance his concept of object permanence by hiding things around the room and asking him to find them. 
  • When reading books, try explaining further what words mean. Make associations with daily life. 
  • Quiz your child throughout the day by showing him objects and asking him to name these objects.
  • Be very patient and don’t pressure them to remember everything. Kids learn best when they feel encouraged and valued.

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

  • If your child can’t seem to remember what familiar objects look like or if they can’t name them, ask your doctor if there are healthy ways to boost their memory.

Social and Emotional Skills

Social Skills

Though separation anxiety from mum and dad is strong at this stage, your 23-month-old will tend to get super excited to see other kids around. He might show some cheeky behaviour, though, but it’s mostly because he’s learning to assert his individuality and independence.


  • Remember that your child likes to play beside — but not with — kids, so let him play on his own even in the company of other children.
  • Let him play games that foster socialisation, like chase or tag. 
  • Be very encouraging, engage with him, show him what it’s like to listen intently and to be responsive. 
  • Intervene when it comes to disagreement with peers, and guide him in how to resolve possible conflict, as he’s still unable to deal with these types of situations.

When to see a doctor:

  • If your child refuses to socialise or is combative towards other kids, consult a paediatrician as to how to make these interactions less stressful. 

Emotional Skills

A part of 23 month old toddler development is the separation anxiety stage, which is a reality throughout the toddler years, and it is even more apparent at 23 months. 

He might also seem irritable, but it’s nothing some one-on-one time with mummy or daddy can’t fix. He wants to feel that he truly has your attention. This is why he tends to cuddle or tug at your sleeve whenever he wants to show off something, like a drawing or a toy.


  • Praise him when he exhibits good behaviour.
  • Prioritise praise over punishment.
  • Don’t negate him, but instead say things gently, even when correcting him. 
  • Be encouraging without making a fuss if he accidentally says a bad word or act out. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

  • When the separation anxiety or tantrums become so extreme that the child is unable to acclimate to new places or situations, like play school. 

Speech and Language Development

Your little 23-month-old has a blooming vocabulary. He can start to string two to four words together to form sentences. Kids this age can point to objects and pictures, if you name them.

Since your tot loves to mimic you, he can repeat words and phrases he overhears. Because of this, he can also start to follow simple instructions. He can also express simple needs, like going to the toilet, or simple feelings. Quite adorably, he can refer to himself by name.

Your child is also at an age where he can associate words with events, so do your best to encourage his verbal expression.


  • Read good books to your 23-month-old. Let him associate words with pictures and encourage him to repeat words and phrases back to you.
  • Show him photos of familiar people and point to body parts to practice naming them. 
  • Use picture cards to further enrich his vocabulary. 
  • Use “I,” “me,” “you” in daily conversation to promote the habit of using these pronouns to communicate.
  • Encourage naming things instead to pointing to them. If he wants a book, he should be encouraged to say the word. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

  • If your little one can’t utter simple words or name familiar people, despite frequent repetition, ask your child’s paediatrician how to help them along.
  • If he can’t follow simple instructions or express what he wants in simple words or gestures, pay your doctor a visit as well.

Health and Nutrition

Picky eating is common for toddlers this age. But be patient and continue to make sure he gets the necessary nutrients he needs like calcium. Remember that the normal height for a 23 month old is around 80.5 – 89.9 cm and he should weigh about 10.7 – 13.4 kg.

If you’re starting to toilet train your child, now would also be a good time to teach him proper hygiene, like the right way to wash his hands.


  • Don’t force your child to eat if he doesn’t seem hungry. 
  • Offer healthy food choices at meal times. Remember that even picky eaters can get used to certain foods, if they are given repeatedly.
  • To keep him healthy, make sure to store his toothbrush in a clean container, and wash towels, pillow cases and bed sheets separately.

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

  • If you child constantly has a poor appetite or is not gaining weight, enlist the help of a trusted paediatrician to know how to help him. 

Cherish this stage, mums and dads!

But remember that just because your toddler hasn’t hit any of the following developmental milestones, it doesn’t mean you should worry too much. (Though of course you should ask their paediatrician, just to be sure.)

Don’t worry too much about what they call the “terrible twos,” because there’s a lot of good stuff waiting for you there, too!