What happens to healthy children at the age of 1 to 4 years?

It begins with the first steps, no, actually already before with the crawling or shuffling—the discovery of the world. The apartment becomes an adventure playground.

Social Behaviour

Your child turns outwards more and more. They need security and familiarity, but at the same time they want to gain experience with other children and adults. Let your child be with other children. They love to play, and roleplays in particular become more and more important. Both social and motor skills are learned and practiced in the playground.

Be there when your child is looking for your affection and let the child go when they want to.

"NO" and "I" now clearly show you how things are going. Independence, autonomy, wanting to assert themselves—as parents, you’ll need reserves of calm.

Tantrums is what we call these moments when your child insists on their point of view and stands up for it, perhaps loudly. Tantrums are a typical sign of maturity in the young child and mostly disappear at the age of 4.


Your child crawls, perhaps already sits down alone, pulls themself to their feet and begins to explore the world slowly on two legs. Some children walk at the age of 10 months, others at 18 months. Do not worry if your child takes more time to walk. Each child develops at their own pace. But when they can walk, nothing is safe—the apartment becomes an adventure playground. The urge to move is great, and the child’s energy seems to be endless.


Language is used more and more. It begins with single words at the age of 12–18 months. Two-word sentences like "daddy car" soon follow, and finally the children reach the age of questioning. Two-year-old children use their names, ask for who, how, and what, and form multi-word sentences (3-5 words). The why-questions are as endless as the flow of speech.

Talk to your child from the beginning and simplify the language so that your child can understand you. Listen and show interest. Read to the child often. Reading aloud can be integrated wonderfully into an evening ritual.

If a child at the age of 2 years does not yet speak 50 words or does not yet make two-word sentences, there may be a delay in language development. In this case, contact your pediatrician.

It may be that your child starts walking early but talking late. It can just as easily be the other way around. Your child starts talking early, but walks a little later. Here, too, there is plenty of room for play.


The meals become interactive playgrounds and are not just for eating. They are also important for the social development of the child. The desire to eat and drink independently has been awakened, and your child will certainly not be dissuaded from doing so.

The rule is that you decide what is put on the table, and the child determines how much they eats.


The need for sleep varies greatly from child to child. The child should sleep so long that they are satisfied when awake. However, it should not be forgotten that the child can only sleep as much as they need to. This can be very different, and the length of time in bed should be adapted to the individual sleep requirement. Most children have a strong urge for regularity. However, some children have difficulties establishing an independent rhythm. These children need a regular daily routine (e.g. meals, sleeping times) specified by their parents. If you have any questions, your pediatrician will also be there for you.

Getting out of diapers

And what about getting out of diapers? Your child will show you when they are ready. Most children take the initiative between the ages of 18 and 36 months. As parents, you are the role model and can support them in this.


Remo H. Largo: Babyjahre. Die frühkindliche Entwicklung aus biologischer Sicht. Carlsen, Hamburg 1993. Piper, München 2010
Oskar Jenni und Remo Largo (2013): Wachstum und Entwicklung. In: Hoffmann, Lentze, Spranger, Zepp.
Pädiatrie: Grundlagen und Praxis, 4. Auflage. Seiten 8-91.