Toddler Physical Development

physical development in infant

Infant physical development is a crucial process in the development of a child. Baby’s skin, muscles, bones, and organs continue to develop for the first year of their lives. Baby’s eyes begin to develop, and they begin to absorb information and begin to learn communication skills. Development of physical development in the infant and toddler years is an important milestone for infants and toddlers. Without consistent support, these early developments can be disruptive and traumatic. Infants may experience: ear infections, head colds, infections, irritability, moodiness, and poor feeding. Toddlers may be unable to stand or walk, experience anxiety, be unable to control bowels or bladder control, have trouble learning to speak, have poor eye-sight, and be unable to stand or sit for longer than a few seconds.


A man looking at the camera

When healthy infants are delivered, some of their inner systems, including those developed for processing food and breathing properly, are already developed and functioning well. But most infants still need responsive care from responsive parents, appropriate nutrition, and properly stimulating environments to support their best possible infant physical development. Parents play a critical role in supporting their toddler children’s physical development by paying attention to their infants and providing the appropriate stimulation. Responsive care includes feeding, bathing, and changing a baby’s diaper, but it also means taking time to play with them, setting up family games, and spending quality family time together.

Neonatal Period

A person in a library

Toddler physical development often follows a predictable pattern. The first year of infant development, called the neonatal period, is a period of rapid physical growth. Most of the organs of the body expand and increase in size, including the lungs, heart, and major organs like the brain, spine, and stomach. These early months of development are important because they set the stage for future health concerns, including infection, immunity, and weight gain.

Infancy Period

The second year of toddler physical development is known as the infancy period, and is the time that children experience their initial short-term memory loss (known as amnesia), and the beginning of the ability to communicate with others. New physical growth milestones are also beginning to occur. The eyelids, mouth, and nose expand, and the ears become more developed. Other senses, including taste, touch, and smell, begin to develop.


Development of the mind starts to occur in the third year of infancy, and continues through childhood and adolescence. During this time, babies start to develop both the visual and the auditory senses. They begin to distinguish different colors, shapes, and textures. By the fourth year, most infants will be able to recognize their own body shape, and be able to communicate what they see, hear, or feel.


Infant toddlers usually don’t outgrow their toddler physical development milestones. They usually continue to build on their strengths throughout their toddler years and into adolescence. If your infant or toddler has had his or her fingers and toes by the time he or she is entering preschool age, he or she should have developed significant motor skills. However, if motor skills are delayed, your child may still have some difficulty getting around town, running down stairs, picking up thrown objects, and reaching things that are dropped down.

Wrapping Up

Toddlers do not outgrow the physical growth milestones that occur throughout their childhood years. They will continue to grow and develop throughout their school years, pre-school years, and even their teenage years. Parents need to be sure that their children are meeting the milestones on a regular basis, and that these children are reaching the developmental milestones on their own volition. Parents should work closely with their pediatrician to ensure that their child is developing at the normal rate for his or her age. If parents fail to provide the appropriate supports for their children, they may be setting their children up for future health problems that can be avoided.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter