Like most new moms, dads aren’t always sure what to expect from their children as they grow. They’re learning by experience just the same as mom. This can cause some measure of anxiety for dads however, since they may not have as much experience with children. When I became a teacher, I often had friends ask me how I did it because they had no idea how to talk to kids and or what to expect from them emotionally and behaviorally.

That’s a fair question. I guess you really just have to be around kids long enough to understand what the status quo is for them at different age levels. If your spouse needs some help though, check out these tips on how toddlers generally behave and what’s considered normal for them.

Social and Emotional Norms
Children are considered toddlers from roughly the ages of 1-3, with a little variance for delayed or quickly developing children. Socially, from about 2-3, toddlers can understand that their actions affect others around them and they also start imitating some adult behavior. Toddlers begin to experiment with more adult language and are capable of understanding more complex ideas. Many older toddlers can grow frustrated if you talk to them like you did when they were an infant or just growing into toddlers.

Toddlers are also becoming more independent, which means you don’t have to constantly watch them or be in the same room as them. They’re starting to do things for themselves such as dress themselves, brush their teeth, and carry their clothes to their room. Dads should try to give their toddlers plenty of opportunities to be independent, even if they can’t always do these things perfectly.

Physical and Cognitive Skills
Though hand-eye coordination hasn’t been completely developed yet, your toddler will start to do more physical activities. At about 2-3, your child should be able to:
•    Kick and throw a ball
•    Jump in place
•    Climb things
•    Walk on their tiptoes
•    Walk down stairs one foot at a time
Along with this, your child’s cognitive skills should also be developing. That means that your child should be able to understand simple one and two step directions, understand the meaning of words like “soon,” later,” and “now.” They should also be able to name colors, shapes, and understand a wider range of words.

Behaviorally
Dads, your toddler is no longer a baby, so it’s not ok to let them cry for the things they want. Make your toddler use their words, but don’t get upset if they get frustrated and throw fits. Tantrums are a normal part of toddlerhood and by the time they get to pre-school and kindergarten, tantrums should decrease in frequency.

Parker, W. (n.d.). What can a dad expect from a toddler?. About.com Fatherhood.