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Toddlers' Social and Emotional Development From 24-30 Months


toddlers making dough and using rolling pin



Between 24 and 30 months, toddlers are able to show compassion, but they can also find it hard to share their toys, food or parents' attention. Here's what else you can expect at this age.

Social and Emotional Milestones

Between 24 and 30 months, toddlers often try to assert their independence. You probably hear "No! Me do it!" on a regular basis. The typical toddler of this age also:

  • Enjoys playing near other children (parallel play). However, your toddler is probably not yet able to play with other children (co-operative play). For more information on the types of play, click here. 
  • Has trouble sharing. Says "no" and "mine." May hit, push, and grab to keep toys. 
  • Becomes aware of the difference between boys and girls. 
  • Moves back and forth between doing things independently and wanting help. 
  • Demands her own way much of the time. 
  • Wants routines. 
  • Connects feelings to language and pretend play. For example, your toddler may roar like an angry lion. 
  • Has many strong feelings that he has trouble expressing. 

Play and Activity

Provide your toddler with opportunities to play with other children, but keep it on a one to one basis. You can also teach your toddler about sharing by using toys as examples. Say things like "Dolly’s sharing her blocks with Teddy."

Here are some other ways you can help your toddler develop socially and emotionally:

  • Explain how conflicts make people feel sad, angry or frustrated. 
  • Share quiet times together by reading, telling stories, or cuddling. 
  • Give lots of praise for positive behaviours: "I think you're doing a great job putting your toys in the toy box." 
  • Continue to breastfeed. 
  • Encourage your toddler to show emotions and talk about them: "It's OK to cry. Can you tell me what’s making you sad?"
  • Move your toddler to a quieter place when she is having difficulty coping with emotions. 
  • Encourage pretend play with dolls and stuffed animals to help practice emotional responses. 
  • Allow your toddler to do things by himself, such as getting dressed and helping with chores. 
  • Read books that show how children or animals experience a range of emotions, such as jealousy, anger, and affection. 
  • Talk about how your toddler's behaviour may affect others: "You took away Tommy’s toy, and now he has no toy to play with. I think this made Tommy feel sad." 
  • Let your toddler know ahead of time when you will be interrupting play: "In five minutes it will be time to be put on our coats and pick up your sister from school." 

Other Social and Emotional Milestones

Between 24 and 30 months your toddler may also:

  • Act shy around strangers. 
  • Pull hair, hit or bite other children when upset. 
  • Willingly help put things away. 
  • Accept new people, if you have talked to them. 
  • Begin to start playing with others. 
  • Show patience. 
  • Demonstrate clear likes or dislikes for certain people, objects, or places. 
  • Be more sensitive to other children and cry if they cry. 
  • React to other people’s emotions. 
  • Have a security toy or blanket. 
  • Have tantrums.

Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Your Child’s Feelings

Last Updated: April 10, 2013