Facts by Age Groups

Toddlers 1 to 3 years

What’s Happening – Growth and Development

During this period, your child’s bones are making amazing gains in size. Although the growth rate starts to slow down, it remains strong. Their birth weight quadruples by two years. Birth length doubles by the age of 3 to 4 years. The leg bones, femur and tibia, of a 3-year-old child are half their eventual adult length.

The rate of growth of different body segments varies and creates change in body proportions. You will notice a marked change in your child’s physical appearance. Their head becomes relatively smaller while their leg length increases. The center of body mass of a toddler is higher than in an older child. It lies at about the level of the bellybutton.

Of course, children of the same age vary in size. Children usually maintain their own individual rate of growth. Your child’s doctor will continue to plot your child’s height and weight to follow their progress.

Bone Health Tips for Your Toddler

Your child’s diet changes with the introduction of many foods. Micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and trace elements cannot be made or converted in the body. With the exception of vitamin D, they have to be supplied by the diet. However, low vitamin D is common due to restricted sunshine exposure.

1. Calcium

  • Each day your toddler needs an intake of 500 milligrams of calcium.
  • Two 8-ounce glasses of milk will cover the recommended amount.
  • If dairy is not the source of calcium, provide protein from other foods.

2. Vitamin D

  • Recommendations increase to 600 IU per day and no more than 2500 IU per day.
  • Diet may not supply sufficient vitamin D in the fall, winter, and spring; a supplement to diet may be needed. The drops you used for your baby are a good source.

3. Diet

  • Introduce a balanced diet of protein, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Include a protein source at each meal.
  • Avoid introducing fast foods that are high in sodium, fat, and calories.

4. Exercise

  • Encourage physical activity.
  • Let them tire themselves out by running around.