What’s irresistibly cute, can out-energise the Energizer Bunny, comes with a penchant for demolition and usually has sticky fingers? That’s right – it’s the beloved toddler, and they are MIGHTY.
Toddlerhood is an incredibly rich phase of development for kids, and when you get your head around what’s actually going on with these little guys, it’s no surprise that they are a force to be reckoned with.
1. They are ambidextrous!
Does your toddler draw with his left hand, but swing a bat with his right? You’re not alone in being confused about your child’s handedness. Tots don’t usually begin to favour a specific hand until somewhere between the age of two and four. Usually by school age the child will have established their preferred hand. (Unless your child is in the one per cent of the population who will remain ambidextrous for life!)
2. They have a ‘word spurt’
Incredibly, at around 18 months of age, a toddler experiences a “word spurt”, adding new words (several per day) to their vocabulary at breakneck speed. Experts have attributed this learning surge to word repetition, learning many words at once and learning words of varying difficulty.
3. They have a heavy brain
According to data, a three-year-old boy’s brain weighs 1.3 kgs, while a three-year-old girl’s brain weighs 1.1 kgs. By the time they near the end of toddlerhood, their brains are almost at full size.
4. They have more brain connections than adults do
From birth to three years of age, a child’s brain is developing at a rate faster than any other time of their life. In fact, according to researchers, by the time they are three years old, a child has formed 1000 trillion brain connections – around twice as many as adults. Talk about brainy tots!
5. They really know how to move!
We knew toddlers were active, but can you take a guess how active? An American study shows that children are more physically active during their toddler years that at any other time of their lives. The findings show that walking toddlers take 2367 steps and experience 17 falls per waking hour. That’s a whole lot of moving and tumbling! And, it brings us to this next point …
6. They have energy to spare
A survey, reported here, found that toddlers use as much energy per day as a grown adult would if they ran for 30 miles (48 kms) or did 249 minutes (four hours) of boxing! (And they still don’t want to go to bed!)
7. They are still growing bits of their body
Toddlers have no kneecaps! What they do have is cartilage, and it will become bone at around three years of age.
8. They can hear things we can’t
Toddlers have extremely sensitive hearing, and pick up higher frequencies than adults. (That’s not to say they will actually listen, of course!)
9. They sleep a lot (no matter what you may think!)
From birth to three years of age, children will have been asleep for around half of their lives.
10. They really do grow overnight
If you swear your toddler wakes up taller one day, you are probably not imagining things. Children grow in spurts, up to half an inch (1.2 cms) in one day, and it occurs during their sleep. Also, a child’s body grows in a segmented fashion, with arms, legs, feet growing at their own pace.
11. They have a little tummy
Take a look at your toddler’s clenched fist, this is about the size of their stomach.
12. They suffer amnesia
If you’ve ever wondered why kids can’t remember much before the age of two to four years of age, it’s due to “infantile amnesia”.
13. They are called ‘toddlers’ for a reason
The word “toddler” has been around since the eighteenth century and is a derivative of the word “toddle”, which means to move about with an unsteady gait. And that is why we love plastic cups.