Your 22-Month-Old’s Development and Milestones


The Unpredictable Adventure

As your little one reaches 22 months old, it’s likely their personality will come out more and more! They may get a little bossy and show some attitude. You might find yourself wondering how and when to set limits on this behavior, all while trying to encourage things like good eating habits. It’s OK to feel that you’re figuring it out as you go along—it’s the same for your little one. This month is going to be an unpredictable adventure for you both, so get ready!

Toddler Development Milestones

Your toddler is learning and growing as the months go by, and it’s fun to cheer them on as they make progress on several fronts. Each child develops on their own timeline, but you may see your little one do some of the following at 22 months old, or a little earlier or later:

  •  Stand on tiptoes. Around this age, your little one may be able to stand on their tiptoes. Be extra careful to keep things packed away as they may be using those extra few inches to reach for objects on a table or shelf.

  •  Follow simple instructions. Now or in the coming months, your toddler may be able to understand and follow simple instructions you give them, such as to pick up a toy or sit down.

  •  Sit in the director’s chair. Don’t be surprised if your toddler gets a little assertive, telling you what role you have in your joint activities, and even instructing you on what you need to do and when.

  •  Repeat words back. Your child may be paying more attention than you realize. You might notice your toddler repeats words back you’ve said in conversations, so watch what you say around them!

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Activities for Supporting Your 22-Month-Old Toddler’s Development

There's a lot you can do to support your 22-month-old’s development. Here are just a few strategies you may want to try:

  •  Be a cheerleader. Encourage your toddler by responding enthusiastically to new skills they’re mastering. Responding positively to good behavior and noticing achievements will encourage your child to keep learning.

  •  Supervise curious explorations. Your 22-month-old is becoming more mobile and independent and wants to explore the world. Although they’re starting to learn about cause and effect, they still haven’t developed common sense and the ability to think things through. Make sure you’re on hand to supervise so they stay safe as they explore.

  •  Teach home safety. Use simple terms to explain to your curious toddler about safety. Tell them not to touch the stove or pan because it’s hot, and not to go near plugs or sharp objects. If they ask why, try to answer briefly—say it’s hot or it will hurt. Keep in mind that explaining these things a few times doesn’t mean you can relax your vigilance, as they don’t fully grasp the concept of consequences and don’t know how to keep themselves out of harm’s way.

  •  Organize playdates. Playing with other children helps your toddler build social skills and offers them a chance to make friends. Take your toddler to the local park and let them play alongside others, join a play group, or meet up with friends who have children of the same age so they can all play together while you catch up over a coffee. However, don’t be surprised if you see your child playing side by side with other children rather than interacting and actually playing with them. Parallel play, as this style is called, is normal at this age.

Mealtimes and Menus for Your 22-Month-Old

Your toddler needs a variety of nutritious foods for healthy growth and development. They may get tired quickly, so frequent meals and snacks are a good idea. Most 22-month-olds will do well with three healthy meals and two snacks per day. It’s OK if your toddler skips a meal or snack here and there or wants to eat more sometimes. The key is to offer a choice of healthy foods and let your little one pick what to eat. You might be surprised to learn that, over the course of a few days, your toddler’s diet will naturally balance out to ensure they get the nutrients they need.

Start Healthy Habits Early

As a medical condition, obesity is a concern for people of all ages, including children. The good news is that forming healthy habits and making small changes in childhood now may prevent complications with obesity later. Keep in mind that some children naturally weigh more and are perfectly healthy, and it’s important not to create unhealthy relationships with food while you also encourage healthy eating.

Here are a few things you can do now to encourage healthy habits:

  • Encourage activity and movement. Help your little one move and be active as much as possible. Toddlers learn by example, so work on living an active life yourself. We’re not talking going to the gym; just bring natural movements or playful fun into your everyday lives. You and your child might enjoy dancing to some fun music, playing with a ball, working in the garden together, tidying up, or even just running around and chasing each other.

  • Establish good eating habits. Offer a variety of healthy foods at appropriate times and let your child decide when they’re full and have had enough. Don’t try to control what they eat by insisting that they clean their plate, as this can affect your little one’s ability to self-regulate.

  • Choose nutritious snacks. Offer healthy snacks such as fruit, low-fat dairy foods, and whole grain foods instead of cookies and chips.

  • Don’t let them fill up on sweets. If your little one doesn’t want to eat their main meal, that’s OK, but avoid giving them cookies or any sweet treats after they've rejected the meal, as this may encourage them to develop a taste for empty-calorie foods over nutrient-dense ones.

  •  Eat at the table. Put away the phones, turn off the TV, and enjoy a family meal together at the table. Relaxed family mealtimes foster bonding and helps build your child’s communication skills and self-esteem.

If you have any questions about how to encourage physical activity and healthy eating, reach out to your toddler’s healthcare provider for advice.

Dealing With Constipation

Identifying constipation can be tricky, as bowel patterns vary. Some children can go two or three days without a bowel movement and not be constipated. However, if you notice any of the following, it may be constipation:

  • It’s uncomfortable or painful for your little one to pass a stool

  • After a few days of your child not having a bowel movement, the stools are large, hard, and dry

  • There is blood on or in your child’s stools

  • Your child strains for more than 10 minutes but doesn’t pass a stool.

If you suspect your little one may be constipated, there are a few things that may help:

  • Add high fiber foods to their diet. Food like prunes, apricots, plums, broccoli, and whole grain cereals and breads can help get things moving.

  • Give your little one more water or unsweetened juice. Water or unsweetened fruit juice can help with constipation. Fruit juices like apple, pear, and prune contain a natural laxative (sorbitol) which can help loosen your toddler’s stools.

If your child is still struggling with constipation after modifications to their diet, check in with their healthcare provider, who may recommend or prescribe a mild stool softener.

22-Month-Old Toddler Sleep Schedule

Your little one needs around 11 to 14 hours of sleep per day, and at 22 months old, they may be down to one nap per day.

Toddlers do best with a routine, but that doesn’t mean they will always get to bed or go to sleep on schedule every single night. You may find you’re struggling to get your 22-month-oldto bed as planned, and that’s OK!

Bedtime Won’t Always Go Smoothly

Your toddler’s sleep schedule is important, but you shouldn’t worry if things don’t always go as planned. As part of sleep training, put your little one to bed at the same time each night, but don’t worry if this happens a little later on occasion.

Life is exciting for your toddler, and things like having a guest over or a new toy may make them want to stay up past their usual bedtime. Keep stimulating activities and excitement to a minimum in the hours before bed and help them wind down with a soothing bath and a bedtime story.

If your child is up late one night, just try to get back on track the next night and help them return to their usual bedtime schedule and routine. The odd late night here and there won’t make a difference in the long run.

Need expert help in adjusting your 22-month-old toddler to a bedtime routine? Try the Smart Sleep Coach app by Pampers. Co-created by pediatricians and sleep experts, the app can assist you with sleep training, work around wake windows, and plan wake times.

A Day in the Life of Your 22-Month-Old Toddler

Although you could argue there’s no such thing as a “typical” day with a 22-month-old toddler, here’s a look at what a daily schedule in your home might look like:

Your Toddler’s Well-being: Developing Emotional Intelligence

When your toddler is around 22 months old, they’re feeling a lot of new emotions but may not know how to express them. Your toddler learns by watching everyone around them, especially their parents and caregivers! Here are some strategies to help your little one develop emotional intelligence:

  • Highlighting when someone shares. When sharing takes place between the adults or any older children in your home, make sure your little one is aware of it. Maybe even say that mommy is sharing her chocolate with daddy, so your 22-month-old begins to understand the concept of sharing. Children don’t completely understand sharing until they’re older, so it’s OK if your child isn’t catching on quite yet!

  • Expressing your own emotions. Your 22-month-old looks to you to learn and may copy your behavior. You can help your little one learn how to communicate emotions by explaining your feelings in a constructive way. So, if you’re feeling frustrated, rather than yell, feel free to share your feelings in an appropriate way. For example, say “Daddy is frustrated today” when you’re stuck in traffic rather than hitting the steering wheel. This helps teach them to verbalize their own emotions.

  • Rewarding good behavior with attention. When your child is doing something you like, notice this and give them your full attention. Reinforcing their positive behavior with your attention and approval builds their self-esteem and is the most productive way to encourage good behavior in the future. When they’re misbehaving, try ignoring the bad behavior (as long as you’ve stopped them from doing anything unsafe) and give them minimal attention, which helps them learn that acting up just isn’t worth it.

Development Tips for Your Toddler This Month

The following tips will help your 22-month-old toddler’s development:

  • Support your little one’s personality. Every child is unique and has their own style and temperament. If you notice your little one needs time to warm up to new people, give them time. Conversely, if they’re very outgoing, let them get involved in activities with other children of the same age. If you’re concerned about your child’s behavior in any way, reach out to your child’s healthcare provider for advice.

  • Encourage learning through play. Play is the best way to help your toddler learn, so help them be creative during playtime. You can provide toys that encourage make-believe games, like blocks and kitchen sets, or help them set up a fort using sheets and a few chairs that can become a rocket ship or a tent on a camping expedition. Working on puzzles, doing arts and crafts together, or taking part in other indoor activities, like sorting objects and making a shape box, can also help stimulate your little one.

  • Read to your on-the-go toddler. While many toddlers love to climb onto a lap and cuddle when it’s story time, others have a harder time sitting still for an entire book, or even for a few pages. If your 22-month-old is a bundle of energy, it’s OK to let them stand while you read. Over time their attention span will increase, but in the meantime, picking a shorter book might be best. Children thrive on repetition, which helps them learn, so if your little one has a favorite story they want to hear over and over, go with it.

  • Point out new words. Wondering how many words or sentences a 22-month-old “should” say? Rather than watching for specific speech milestones or keeping count of the words and sentences your child knows, introduce them to new words every day. Point out new words when you’re out shopping together or repeat the names of animals in the park or local zoo. Narrate the activities that you’re doing can help them learn and recognize the words of everything that’s around them. If you’re concerned that your 22-month-old is not talking, consult their healthcare provider.

Items You Will Need This Month

You might like to have the following baby gear items this month:

  • Toddler car seat. It’s a good idea to check that your car seat is still appropriate for your child’s current height and weight. If your child is nearing the limits of the car seat, start looking for a new one to buy.

  • Toddler bed. If your toddler can climb out of their crib, you may need to switch to a toddler bed, place a mattress on the floor, or convert your convertible crib into a bed. A toddler bed rail will also be useful for keeping your little one in their new bed.

  • Jogging stroller. If you want to be more active with your toddler, you can take them with you on a run with a jogging stroller. Another option would be to take your little one for a ride in a bicycle-towed child trailer.

  • Potty chair. Get ready for potty training by purchasing a potty chair for your 22-month-old. To get them interested in potty training, let them choose the one they like.

Your Life as a Parent: Handling Bad Behavior

The toddler age has a reputation for being a bit challenging, especially when temper tantrums and other types of aggressive behavior begin to appear. Here are a few ideas to help keep the upcoming “terrible twos” at bay and curb any aggressive tendencies in your 22-month-old:

  • Understand that toddlers cannot control themselves. At this age, toddlers don’t have much self-control, and you need to help them learn not to push, hit, bite, or kick when they’re angry. Instead, try to encourage them to “use their words” to express their feelings.

  • Set the house rules. Create a few simple rules to be followed in your home and teach them to your little one. If they break the rules, be firm and clear about what they did wrong. Keep in mind that teaching the rules and having them obeyed is something that takes a lot of time, patience, gentleness, and repetition.

  • Avoid using threats. It’s more effective to “catch” your little one being good and reinforce good behavior with praise rather than scold poor behavior. If you notice bad behavior, try to teach an alternative way to behave instead of issuing threats.

  • Use distractions. Preventing poor choices or bad behavior at this age often comes down to you presenting better alternatives instead. For example, if you see your toddler reaching for something breakable like a delicate drinking glass, give them an alternative like an unbreakable plastic cup.

  • Control your own temper. It’s easy to lose your cool and run out of patience, but it’s important to watch your own behavior around your child. Remember that you’re a role model for your little one! If you can express your anger or frustration in a cool, calm way, your toddler will learn to do the same.

Checklist for This Month

  • Do another round of childproofing. Your toddler is getting more mobile and curious, not to mention bigger and more skilled at using their hands and fingers, so look around your home to check that nothing dangerous is within their reach.

  • Garden with your child. If you have a garden or some outdoor or indoor space for pots, you might like to show your child how plants are potted and what the roots look like. Or, they may enjoy playing with a mini spade to dig a hole in the dirt. Have them help you water the plants or let them pick some flowers for a bouquet. If you don’t have a garden of your own, find out if there’s a community garden nearby so you and your little one can get active planting, digging, and playing outdoors.

  • Enroll in parent and toddler swimming classes. Get your little one used to the water by signing them up for water play classes designed specifically for toddlers of this age. Many of these classes are designed for you and your little one to get in the water together, and another benefit is learning water safety and how to float.

How We Wrote This Article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.