Babies, toddlers and young children are constantly learning. A toddler, one to three years old, is learning to feed himself, to walk, to sleep on his own, to use the big boy potty, to play with other children, and assert his independence is some ways.
Basically, children are trying to figure out where they fit in the family, and where they fit in the bigger community as well. While a normal part of growing up, this can scary for the toddler, as well as the parents. Realizing how a child develops between ages one and three will help you understand his behavior and help you relate better to him.
Children love to play games, even when you as the parent don't realize you're playing a game. Children learn through games and discovering new things. Children ages 1 - 3 generally have short attention spans and will easily move from one activity to another all through the day. Organized games should be age appropriate and have fairly simple rules. Giving children some small responsibilities at these ages, which are age appropriate, will help them find a role in the family. It's never too early for children to learn simple chores like picking up toys when play is finished.
Toddlers will also begin asserting their independence by defying mom and dad. Often this defiance results in screaming, crying, and a very upset little boy or girl. It's important for parents to continue to show authority and stick to their guns. Giving in to fits only reinforces the behavior in the child, and tells the child that with enough crying he or she gets the desired outcome.
Gentle discipline (not punishment), lots of encouragement, and overflowing unconditional love are important at all stages of a child's life, but especially while the toddler is learning to relate to you, other family members, and society as a whole.