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Toddler

The toddler years can be among the most enjoyable years of parenting. You and your child will continue to bond as you watch him grow and learn. Your child will discover new words, ideas and activities nearly every moment over these months.

Development

At 15 months, your child will be walking, climbing stairs, stacking blocks, speaking 3-6 words and using utensils. He/she will follow simple commands. Speech and language will develop rapidly during these months.

Children at this age enjoy looking at books and pictures and playing with their parents. The will develop a sense of humor and will give and take toys.

Feeding

Your child should be drinking whole milk, limited to 16oz.-24oz per day. Transition your child from a bottle to sippy cup and then to a regular cup. Table foods should be offered. Offer a spoon and fork and encourage your child to learn to feed him/herself.
Appetites go up and down – don’t worry about how much your child is eating. Think of the big picture – as long as your child is getting a balanced diet over the course of a week, it is okay. Water should be offered between meals if your child is thirsty – continue to limit juice.
Modeling good nutrition is important at this age. Enjoy family meal times, offering nutritious foods with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Offer three meals a day with snacks in between.

Parenting Challenges


Beware of negativism! Don’t offer your child a choice if there isn’t one. If an issue is non-negotiable, instead of saying, “Do you want to go home?” say, “It’s time to go home.” Try not to use the word “no” a lot – it will lose its effect. Try to divert your child’s attention by offering other toys and activities. Reinforcing positive behavior improves the child’s behavior better than punishing negative behavior. Be consistent with your child and discuss what is acceptable/not acceptable with all care providers so that the child has consistent limitations. Do not reason with your toddler and ignore tantrums (after assuring that the child is safe).

Safety Concerns

Inspect toys for small or loose parts (such as beads, eyes, or ribbons). Never leave your child unattended. Use gates at the top and bottom of stairs, and be sure they are securely in place. Safety latches on cupboards protect the child from cleaning supplies and other dangerous substances. Never leave medication within the child’s reach. Supervise your child around pets and teach animal safety. Toddlers should never be alone in a car or bath. Water safety is very important as your child becomes more mobile. Standing water should be eliminated and bath time supervised – no matter how shallow the water. Use sunscreen in the summer and reapply frequently. Do not leave your child alone with a pet.

Sleep

At 15 months, a child is typically sleeping thought the night, for about 10 hours. And by two, most toddlers are sleeping 12 hours a night. One or two daytime naps are common, for a total of about two hours. Try to discourage night feedings – your child should be receiving all their nutrition during the day. If your child awakens at night, encourage him or her to return to sleep in his or her own crib. Transitional objects, such as blankies or stuffed animals, can help children to soothe themselves to sleep and feel comforted in their cribs.

Toilet Training

Do not push your child to toilet train but be aware of signs of readiness. Signs of readiness are usually seen by 2 to 2.5 with mastery between 2 and 4 years. These signs include: longer periods of dryness, ability to pull clothes up/down, awareness of impending need to urinate or stool, being able to climb on and off potty chair and the ability to communicate need to use the toilet.

Don't Forget to Brush

Your child should brush his or her teeth once a day with plain water or a fluoride – free toothpaste! Dental visits are not needed unless there are concerns regarding the teeth. No bottles or sippy cups in bed! This can cause cavities!