Your child should now be feeding him-or herself most of the foods you eat from the table. They may start using a spoon, but will be more effective using fingers. Be prepared for messy meals; it is important for your child’s developing sense of autonomy to learn to feed him-or herself and to control the amount eaten. Eat meals together as a family. Gradually continue to introduce new table foods, avoiding nuts, and peanuts, popcorn and other foods that are easily choked on. Choose nutritious snacks, such as cheese, fruit and vegetables. Do not give your child candy, gum or other sweets. Healthy eating habits start now!
Less than 16oz of milk and less than four ounces of fruit juice without added sugar are recommended per day for your child. Water should be given as well. If your child is still using a bottle, now is the time to wean completely. If you are having difficulty getting your child off the bottle, ask us for advice. Remember, if you have well water, we may prescribe fluoride supplements.
Development and Behavior
Your child is probably walking around quite well by now. They are also climbing stairs, building with blocks, stacking toys and starting to scribble with crayons. Your child’s language is a combination of single words, pointing, and “jargon” that may only be understandable to him or her. They can follow simple commands and “help” with housework. Read to your child every day!
You may begin to see temper tantrums as your child struggles with independence and inability to do all that they want. Set consistent limits on behavior and encourage appropriate behavior by teaching your child what you want them to do. Offer choices to give your child a sense of control, and you may discuss discipline with your physician.
Most children do not begin to show signs of readiness for toilet training until they are at least 18 to 24 months old. Let your child take the lead on this very important issue of control. The process will be much quicker and cause fewer conflicts between you and your child.
Children respond to and prefer routines. Set regular bedtimes, mealtimes and nap times for your child. A special blanket or stuffed animal can help children who have difficulty getting to sleep. If your child uses a pacifier, you should begin limiting it to the crib/sleep only.
You should use a rear-facing car seat in the back seat every time you travel in the car until your child is two years of age. Make sure you are using your car seat correctly! Never place your child in a seat with an airbag. If you have questions about installing your seat, you can have it checked at your local fire or police department. Never leave your child alone in the car. Be a good role model, and wear a seat belt yourself. Supervise all outside play and closely observe water play.
Toddlers are very curious and love to explore. If the environment is child-proof, let your child explore freely. This is the way they learn new things. Keep plastic bags, balloons, and small objects out of reach. Lock all medicines, vitamins, cleaning supplies and poisons away. Keep the poison control center number 1-800-848-6946 by your phone. Remember, we no longer recommend Syrup of Ipecac or Activated Charcoal for poisoning. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and check batteries regularly.
In the kitchen, cook on the back burner, with pan handles out of reach. Never cook with children underfoot. Children love to explore the outdoors. Make it safer by fencing the yard and keeping children inside when lawn mowers or other machinery are used. Always supervise your child in the bathtub or wading pool.
Health Maintenance and Shots
Today your child may receive vaccines not administered at the 12 month checkup.
At 18 months your child will receive a checkups, and be measured for height, weight and head circumference. DTaP and Hepatitis A vaccines may be administered. Call our office at any time if you have any questions or concerns.