During the first year of life you watched your baby start as a helpless infant to a budding toddler. The second year of life is even more exciting. This is when your baby starts to really show personality. Your baby learns eating skills, speech skills, walks and learns how to play during this year. Temper tantrums may begin during this year as your baby pushes to become independent. Every new discovery is greeted with enthusiasm and each month takes your baby a little closer to independence.
During the thirteenth month of life your one year old is a toddler. At this point in life you have a strong bond with your child. Speech and independent travel (walking, and running) is being perfected as are feeding skills. At this point your baby can:
- Use a few words appropriately, usually “bye-bye” and “mom”
- Can make needs known with few words and gestures for words that cannot be pronounced correctly.
- Pick up objects after dropping them (objects can include a bottle, sippy cup, or small toys).
- Recognize self in a mirror and is entertained by making faces at self with mirror.
- Can play ball by sitting on the floor and rolling the ball to you and can ‘catch’ it with hands and legs when it is rolled back
- Can give kisses when asked and many can blow raspberries when it is suggested
- Helps with dressing by holding arms and legs out so you can put the clothing on
- Helps with face and hand washing if given a wash cloth
During this month your toddler continues to learn to play. Eating skills are continually improving. Imitations of your motions are done, if you turn around while cleaning or cooking you can find your toddler reenacting what you are doing like a miniature shadow of you. As you watch your toddler learn and grow you will see that your child can now:
- Eat with fingers.
- Uses pincer grasp to pick up cereal and other snacks
- Imitates other people and the actions that is seen in real life and on television
- Can identify body parts by name; as you name body parts your toddler can point to the appropriate parts.
- Likes to empty out containers and refill them
- Follows simple instructions
- Has learned how to walk and gets around quite well
- Uses flatware at meal time. (not exclusively)
- Pulls toys around while playing
Creativity is explored as your toddler grows more independent and discovers the world around him. During this time your toddler is changing from a baby to a child. The change is evident daily as you watch your child blossom in front of your eyes. At this point your child can:
- Say several words, three or four of these are spoken clearly and often your child will pick a few regular words while adding more words daily to the ever growing vocabulary.
- Plays games including ball
- Can walk and crawl backwards
- Scribbles with crayons and markers on paper, or whatever else is close by
- Has heard the word ‘no’ enough that this is now a favorite word.
- Helps you with the housework and household chores
- Will hold fingers up to mouth while saying, “shhh!” warn you to be quiet
- Is learning to run
During this month your child may get frustrated and show that frustration in the form of tantrums. If this works to get what is wanted the tantrums will continue to increase in number and intensity. Gross motor skills are becoming much more coordinated and fine motor skills are beginning to develop as well.
- Frustration leads to temper tantrums
- Has an attachment to a specific toy or blanket, this becomes a security item
- Climbs on the furniture and stacked books and anything else that can be found to climb on.
- Doesn’t need as many naps during the day, one nap after lunch is usually enough at this point.
- Mimics you using the phone, may find a remote control for the TV to use as a play phone.
- Stacks items, often to climb on
- Can undress self.
Personality is really showing. Your baby is growing up quickly. You can now have a simple conversation with your child. Opinions are expressed and moods are obvious. This is when your child starts to choose favorite foods, or foods that are not liked, as well as favorite clothing. You can spend time playing imaginative games pretending to be other characters with your toddler. This is a good time to teach colors and shapes.
- Uses several words.
- Individuality is explored further and your child may suggest items of clothing when you are helping your toddler to get dressed.
- People who are familiar with your child can understand what is said, others may have to listen closely to understand what your child is saying though.
- Imaginative play begins, your child enjoys pretending to be a character in a favorite book or favorite movie
- Can throw underhand
- Kicks a ball to you while playing
- Mimics your actions by feeding, bathing and undressing a baby doll but still has some trouble putting the clothes back on.
Your baby is a year and a half old now and striving to become independent. There are learning experiences daily and your child is quickly changing. The many skills that your child has acquired over the last year and a half have shaped your child’s personality. Play time still involves imagination and self but rarely includes other children at this age. Your child can:
- Pretend ‘read’ books
- Scribble in an attempt to color or write notes
- May draw pictures of self or other people (these usually look like scribbles)
- Self confidence is growing; each time you tell your child how good of a job is done you help to improve self confidence.
- Can speak in short sentences.
- Early signs of potty training readiness may start to appear
- Can take large puzzle type toys apart and then put them back together
- Brushes teeth mimicking your actions when you give instructions (you still need to help with this task to protect dental heath)
Your baby is a toddler, naps have dwindled and become a one time a day yet the amount of energy your child has is amazing. Seeking new learning experiences and putting labels on every new item encountered your child is like a sponge sitting in a sea of information. By this age your child is attempting many new feats including:
- Eating with utensils properly
- Throwing a ball underhand appropriately and often tosses it overhand as well.
- Enjoys being a big helper around the house.
- Has good enough coordination to run
- Understands 200 or more words
- Can tell when someone mislabels things (e.g.; calls mom ‘dad’ or calls a doll a ‘truck’ or calls someone by the wrong name), some toddlers think this is funny while it frustrates others.
- Labels pictures
- May be able to tell when he needs to urinate. This is a sign that it is time to start discussing potty training.
Your toddler is tightly bonded to you. Your toddler mimics your day by doing the jobs that you engage in. Language skills are increasing at a rapid rate, new vocabulary is achieved at a regular pace. By watching you and listening to you he learns how to respond in daily situations. A dozen or so new words are learned each day. You will be excited to know that your child can now:
- Take off clothing and attempts to put clothing back on (may need assistance putting clothes back on correctly).
- Mimics your actions including taking care of doll like you take care of your children.
- Puts toys in the corner when they misbehave.
- Can name body parts when pointed to.
By this age toddlers start learning about themselves. Exploring their own body, even touching their own genitalia is normal and will pass. Gross motor skills are improving and with those skills comes the ability to get just about anywhere in your home. Playing simple games with you or alone is how most of your toddler’s time is spent, group play is not as interesting to your toddler yet. The world still revolves around the toddler’s needs and wants as far as the child is concerned. Other things that your child can do include:
- Walk up stairs
- Follow two part commands (e.g.: ‘pick up that toy and put it in this box’)
- Is old enough to start picking up toys after play when asked to do so.
- Can throw and kick a ball
- Beginning to attempt to climb down stairs.
- Tries to help with dressing, can put on shoes (not necessarily on the right feet)
Creative thinking and critical thinking are becoming more apparent as your toddler grows. Problem solving skills are also being developed. Simple games can be played with your toddler including throwing and kicking a ball. Kicking the ball can lead to kicking other items, or people, if your child is frustrated. Tantrums are still a problem for some toddlers, especially if there has been a big change such as where you live or which parent the child resides with. As your child gets closer to having a second birthday your child can:
- Do simple puzzles
- Draw straight lines
- Name most body ports
- Self soothe
- Stack items to build ‘houses’ or ‘castles’
Your baby is rapidly growing and learning and you can’t believe how fast your child has learned and grown. Not only can your child walk and talk but your child shows imagination in all things done. After spending the past nearly 2 years with every thought centered on himself your toddler is starting to seek friendship from other children. Your child can also:
- Use 75 or so words on a regular basis
- Name the characters in favorite story books
- Name family pets and family members
- Sing songs
- Share toys
- Has likes and dislikes and will voice them occasionally
Your toddler is two years old. At this point in life your baby has grown quickly and learned so much the tiny baby you brought home from the hospital no longer is a tiny baby. Your toddler can talk and voices questions and concerns. It is time for your toddler to branch out and seek friendship from other toddlers. Now is a good time for you to get into play groups and other socialization groups to help your toddler learn how to share and play with others. Your toddler can successfully:
- Be understood by those who are around frequently and most people who don’t know your child.
- Opens doors
- Talks about self and family
- Can name most body parts and point them out.
- Uses sentences of 3 or more words regularly.
- Might start noticing that there are gender differences.
Remember, these are just guidelines and all babies develop differently. If your baby is 15 months old and they still are not doing some of the things on the list for that age don't worry too much. You may even find there are a few things they can do on this list that older children typically do. Its fun to see how babies develop, and as parents this is the time that will create memories that will last a lifetime.
If you have not already, make sure to check out our previous article on Baby Milestones – The First Year.
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