Now that your toddler has passed his first birthday, you are entering a new stage of learning, growth and development. If he is not walking already, he will likely take his first steps over the next few months, an exciting milestone for all of you. He will begin to see the world from a new perspective and is then well on his way to a childhood of running and jumping and exploring.
Over the next few months, your baby is really ready to leave his infancy behind him and will become a fully fledged toddler almost before your eyes. His co-ordination will improve as he learns to stand upright and walk unaided and by 18 months, will probably love to play a game of chasing with you as he is now well on the way to running and understanding the game.
Your toddler will enjoy sitting in his high chair at the table and enjoying family meals together.
However, mealtimes may not always run smoothly - the toddler may clamp his mouth shut when you try to feed him. This suggests that it is time to hand over the spoon and allow him to feed himself, mess or no mess. This will bring your toddler positive rewards such as independence, good self-feeding skills and a healthy attitude towards food and mealtimes.
Your toddler’s brain is growing and developing all the time and you can help by playing fun games to help him learn and grow. Puzzles are also a great way to develop hand-eye coordination and a child feels a great sense of satisfaction from completing a simple jigsaw, especially if you are there to see his work. ‘Peekaboo’ is a popular game for toddlers and one which helps to strengthen and develop brain connections - understanding that something has not disappeared just because you cannot see it.
Reading to your child is always beneficial and it is never too early to start. Reading or telling a story to your toddler will encourage her to associate books with what she loves most - your voice and your closeness. Read often but for short periods of time and use changes in tone , funny voices and actions to stimulate your child’s enthusiasm for books and learning.
Speech development will occur at a different pace for every child. By 18 months, your child may have a few simple words and be able to communicate what he wants by pointing. He will continue to surprise you at a great rate as his vocabulary develops over the next few months.
Researchers suggest that an adult’s vocabulary is largely determined by speech heard within the first 3 years of life, so talk to your child, explain your actions and discuss the world around you – he will repay you with understanding and a hunger for words once he begins to speak.