Read about your child’s world at 15 to 18 months.
Young toddlers continue to build on many of the skills that emerged around their first birthday, including walking and talking. At the same time, they’re getting the hang of seeing themselves as their own person—separate from you. To help your child with these developments, just keep supporting him with your love, interaction, and good nutrition.
Here are more developments you’re likely to see in your growing 1-year-old.
Your toddler is still very busy exploring her world. Her growing attention span and curiosity allow her to spend greater lengths of time figuring out how objects work. Expect her to throw, crumble, pull, bang, mouth, search, stack, and knock down. Thankfully, an interest in a quieter activity emerges, too—she enjoys looking at picture books alone or with you. Your toddler begins to understand what objects, such as brushes and spoons, are for. She also may use these objects in make-believe play, pretending to brush a stuffed animal’s fur or feeding herself make-believe food, and she understands that it’s not for real, just for fun.
Physical abilities at this age are all over the map. At one end of the spectrum are those who are still tentatively cruising around a room hanging onto furniture and at the other are all-out runners. So be ready for anything. Most toddlers’ fine motor coordination has improved enough that they can manage complex moves: removing socks, handling a spoon, and even holding a crayon and scribbling.
Language is another area where toddlers show wide differences. Most have a vocabulary of at least a handful of words. And those words tend to get heavy use. The single word “juice,” for example, might stand for a whole sentence, depending on the context: “I want more juice,” “I spilled my juice,” or if you are at the store, “Hey, let’s buy some juice!” As your child approaches 18 months, she’ll pick up new words more quickly. Some toddlers start to use phrases (“good juice”); a few may even string together words that come close to a sentence (“Me see kitty”).
With all this amazing development comes frustration. Your toddler will get ideas about what she’d like to do based on what she sees bigger kids doing or what she thinks she can do. But often, her skills aren’t quite up to snuff or what she wants to do is unsafe. Without real control of her emotions yet, she’s likely to cry or throw a tantrum when things don’t quite go her way. Tantrums are a normal part of development but tend to occur more often when your child is overtired or hungry or experiencing some kind of stress. Keeping your child on a regular schedule helps, as does staying calm yourself. You may also be able to use humor or distraction to ease your child out of a tantrum.