Children 18 months of age can be a lesson in patience for a parent. At times it seems as though your child is well on his way to independence but in the next moment is clinging and crying and holding onto you for dear life. He is beginning to understand limits but will not always obey them.
Your Child’s Sleep: Don’t be too concerned if your child’s sleep patterns turn upside down right now. Your child may awaken in the night but do not reward him by allowing him to call the shots and either get up and play or come in and sleep in your bed with you. Be firm and lay him back down, tuck him in and give him a favorite stuffed animal or blanket to hold. If your child continues to fuss and cry, leave the room and allow him time to try to soothe himself. Return every 5-10 minutes until he falls asleep. And be consistent!
Your Child’s Feeding: Your child should not only be totally off a bottle at this point but also be able to handily hold and drink from a cup. Use whole milk until the age of two. Some foods should be avoided at this age due to choking hazards. Grapes and hot dogs should be cut up very carefully. Nuts and raw vegetables are too much for your child right now to properly chew so steer clear. Popcorn can be a problem, too. Your child should be eating three balanced meals per day and two or three healthy snacks.
Your Child and Potty Training: It may be time to get the potty training rolling. Some signs that your child is ready to train may be if he awakes from a nap dry, begins to use words or gestures to let you know he has a dirty diaper or if you can start to see a pattern emerge where he appears to grunt or strain after a meal. Get a potty chair and allow your child to become familiar with it. Don’t put too much pressure on him though. Give him encouragement but allow him to set the pace.
Your Child’s Social Skills: Your little toddler’s vocabulary may be up to 20 words now. Make sure you stress manners and set a good example. He is watching and able to understand now. You may also notice your child is starting to show interest in making new friends. While he may appear pushy and even a little rude, that is okay. He is just starting the process of building those social skills so expose him to as many group settings as possible to encourage that healthy growth.
Your Child’s Motor Skills: Your child is likely walking up a storm now and possibly climbing stairs with your help. He also loves pedaling a big wheel or tricycle and scribbling with finger paints. He loves songs and books and sand and water play. He loves to pretend and you may find him imitating everything you do all day long.
SAFETY AND YOUR CHILD:
- With so much constant movement, make sure you have gates up and at the stairs.
- Put up barriers against any open windows.
- Never leave your child unattended anywhere. He is a quick mover and avid explorer and can easily wander off.
- Your child should be in a car safety seat in the backseat, never in the front until at least age 10.
- Watch your child around any water.
- Keep the poison control number handy. 1-800-222-1222
- Keep any firearms locked up and the ammunition stored in a separate area.
- Do not expose your child to any smoke, matches, lighters, etc.
While your child may test your patience at this age, it is all due to his journey towards independence. Be consistent and firm. If you have questions about anything, do not hesitate to call us.