Two months left until you have a two year old! Wow has time flown—and wow are the 22 month developmental milestones amazing to see.
From their blossoming personality to unpredictable moods, life is a learning experience for you all. Here’s a 22 month milestones checklist and overview straight from our team of pediatricians and sleep consultants to get you ready for the month ahead.
Life With a 22 Month Old
Life with a 22 month old is a whirlwind of energy, curiosity, and the delightful chaos of toddlerhood.
Each day is a new adventure, filled with their blossoming independence, expressed through determined "no's", and attempts at mastering daily tasks—and maybe even some dangerous ones.
Cognitive, physical, and social development at 22 months is amazing as ever. Communication may be a charming mix of words, gestures, and occasional frustration—which is normal. Your house may be full of toddler babble as many at 22 months start to form simple sentences and use gestures to make their opinions known, further revealing their developing personalities. You may not be able to keep up with their tiny feet running all over the place, exploring cabinets, climbing furniture, and choosing when and what to eat.
Amidst the parenting whirlwind, there are moments of sheer joy and heart-melting tenderness, creating a rich chapter in the ever-evolving journey of family life.
Sleep and Naptime at 22 Months
Buckle up—bedtime likely won’t always go smoothly at 22 months old. Don’t worry though, it’s normal. They are budding independent beings, and sleep may be last on their list when they have all these new skills to practice or toys to play with.
Stick with their bedtime and nap routine, even if timing is off sometimes. The Smart Sleep Coach by PampersTM app is one way to ensure their schedule is aligned with their age and biological sleep needs. It will remind you when your 22 month old should go down for a nap and update as they grow and reach new developmental milestones. Even if they stay up too late one night, the app can help you adjust their next day so they get back on track.
One afternoon nap is all they need at 22 months and try and cap it at 2-3 hours. Anything more may disrupt their sleep at night.
>> Expert tip: If your 22 month old is starting to fight their nap, try shifting it by 15 minutes. Their sleep patterns change as they age, and that simple change may make all the difference. Smart Sleep Coach can help you design or adjust your sleep schedule to promote the best sleep possible.
Motor Skills Milestones for 22 Month Old
Physical 22 month developmental milestones are fun but may require a little more attention from you.
- Introducing tippy toes! A 22 month old developmental milestone may be the ability to stand on their tiptoes. This is a reminder to keep your kitchen counters clear and any dangerous items packed away. Tippy toes give your toddler more reach to get to things that may seem interesting.
- The great escape. Physical strides means that your 22 month old may be attempting to climb out of their crib. Make sure to lower the crib to its lowest setting and consider switching to a toddler bed if they are escaping.
- Less wobbly. Balance and coordination are on the up and up. You may see your 22 month old attempting to navigate more difficult obstacles. Think playground structures or furniture around the house.
With all the physical 22 month developmental milestones being reached, now’s the time to make sure your house is some version of “childproofed”. Make sure dangerous items are out of reach and keep a close on your toddler as they explore their surroundings, inside and out.
Communication Skills Milestones for 22 Month Old
Your independent 22 month old is likely chatting up a storm and maybe even getting a little bossy at times! They often have between 50-100 words and are starting to form short sentences to help make their needs known, such as “more juice’. While their emotional development is still underway, don’t be surprised if their inability to communicate with words leads to some temper tantrums.
Here are some things to consider to help support milestones at 22 month olds
- Remember who is the boss. Your toddler is likely getting a little assertive and telling you what to do during playtime or activities. This is all part of them developing their independence and unique personalities. Make sure to let them fly their wings, but also remind them who the adult it.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. If imitation is the best form of flattery, you likely are feeling very flattered these days! Your toddler learns best by observing, so keep narrating your day-to-day to them, but be careful of saying things you’d rather them not hear.
- Reinforcing the good behaviors. There are many things that 22 month olds don’t yet understand, but now’s a good time to narrate behaviors you want them to imitate. For example, if you are sharing a snack with someone, tell them how happy it is making that person! It’ll keep reinforcing the concept of sharing, which will eventually click. Rewarding good behavior is also helpful at this age, and ignoring bad behavior (as long as it’s safe) shows how doing something they shouldn’t won’t get your attention.
Emotional Development of a 22 Month Old
All toddlers love to imitate their parents, and yours probably is no difference. One thing your 22 month old will start to imitate is your reaction to different things and the emotions you show. For example, if you show excitement for what’s for dinner, your toddler may start to react just the same. Maybe they’ll even start to look forward to broccoli!
At 22 months old a toddler’s emotional regulation is still in progress, so that—on top of their continuously developing communication—may lead to tantrums. The American Academy of Pediatrics say that temper tantrums are incredibly common but usually subside around age four.
You can help your 22 month old through a temper tantrum by teaching them how to communicate their feelings better. One way is by talking through your own feelings in a way that makes sense. For example, if you are feeling upset because they threw a toy, you can tell them why that made you upset instead of shouting no, making a noise, or walking away. Verbalizing emotions is an important skill that needs to be learned.
22 Month Old Mealtime Ideas
A 22 month old is as picky at 22 months as they were the last few months. Don't worry though, it’s normal and we have some pediatrician-approved tips and tricks for getting them through the inevitable toddler food phase.
- Involve them: Let your toddler to be involved in the mealtime process. Task them with simple things such as setting the table, stirring ingredients, or even choosing between what to serve.
- Make it special: Use colorful plates and utensils, play music or talk about something they enjoy. Turning mealtime into a pleasant experience can make your child look forward to it.
- Keep it predictable: Regular snack and mealtimes can help your child anticipate meals, making them more willing to participate.
- Model healthy eating habits: Children often imitate what they see. Demonstrate healthy eating habits by eating a variety of foods yourself and expressing enjoyment in trying new things.
- Limit distractions: Turn off the TV and put your phone away. This shows your 22 month old the importance of focusing on food and the meal.
- Make it stress-free: Avoid power struggles or negative associations with food. Praise their positive behaviors at the table and respect their preferences—while continuing to encourage they try new foods.
Remember that every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Be patient, and know that if they are hungry, they will eat. Speak to your pediatrician for personalized guidance if you’re concerned.
22 Month Old Milestones Checklist
22 month developmental milestones are different for every toddler. Here's a checklist to summarize what you may expect.
- Starting to attempt to run
- Climbs stairs with assistance
- Pulls toys while walking
- Builds a tower with multiple blocks
- Scribbles with a crayon
- Feeds themselves with their hands and maybe utensils
- Can tell you different body parts when asked
- Knows between 50-100 words
- Answers to simple instructions or questions
- Begins to sort objects by shape and color
- Shows interest in pretend play
- Combines two words to form simple sentences (e.g., "more juice," "my toy")
Social and Emotional Development:
- Begins to assert independence (e.g., saying "no", requesting certain foods)
- Enjoys playing alongside other children (but probably not playing with them)
- On an emotional rollercoaster
- Attachment to familiar caregivers and separation anxiety
Remember that every 22 month old develops at their own pace, and there is a wide range of what may be considered “normal.” Lots of socialization, a healthy diet and predictable sleep schedule are great ways to help with their development. If you have concerns about your toddler's development, it's always a good idea to discuss them with your pediatrician.
How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.
CDC, “How Much Sleep Do I need?”
American Academy of Pediatrics, “Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5”
American Academy of Pediatrics, “The Wonder Years”
American Academy of Pediatrics, “Media and Young Minds”
Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, “Toddler Bedtime Routines and Associations With Nighttime Sleep Duration and Maternal and Household Factors”
Behavioral Sleep Medicine, “The Family Context of Toddler Sleep: Routines, Sleep Environment, and Emotional Security Induction in the Hour before Bedtime”