Every toddler develops at his own pace, and there is a wide range of normal when it comes to developmental milestones. There are activities that can promote learning for 20-month-olds and help them develop appropriately, as well as provide bonding opportunities for the whole family.
Bedtime routines should start very early so children know what to expect and it becomes a positive experience for your toddler. Changing into pajamas, brushing teeth and reading a story should all be part of the routine. At 20 months, your toddler is old enough to choose a book to share and say one or two words about a picture in a book. Making animal sounds or finishing sentences from a favorite story are common abilities at this age. Reading a story at bedtime helps develop your toddler's language, as he can learn up to 10 new words a day.
At 20 months, your toddler loves to copy what he sees you doing. Toys that mimic adult work are very entertaining at this stage, and he loves to help sweep, vacuum or do the dishes right alongside you. Simple jobs with basic directions, such as putting blocks into a bin, are appropriate at this age. Be careful to make the directions very basic by avoiding multiple steps. You toddler loves to interact with you, so he will appreciate your praise of his efforts.
Most 20-month-old toddlers can scribble with a crayon and enjoy creating on a sheet of paper. Nontoxic finger-painting can also be enjoyable at this stage. Since toddlers enjoy smearing food, most enjoy using the same smearing technique to create art. It is wise to do this in a high chair to contain the mess and to tape down a sheet of wax paper over the high chair tray to protect it. Place the paper over the wax paper for the toddler to use.
Toddlers at this age are very interested in peer groups and play dates but often play alongside other children rather than engaging in play together. Huggies recommends that 20-month-old toddlers not have more than one structured activity a day, as so much learning and entertainment is created by their own innovative ideas and free play. Your toddler will often talk to toys, animals or even inanimate objects, and this is all part of the learning process and shouldn't be discouraged.