Childhood Development: 1 to 2 Years
Learning to walk and talk is your child's biggest job in this year. Enjoy your child's development, and remember to make sure that your child is always supervised.

How your child eats:
  • Your child should be on an eating schedule and can join the family at the dinner table 3 times a day.
  • Your child's appetite may decrease; remember a child of this age is eating about 1/4 of an adult serving.
  • Your child may prefer only one type of food ("food jag").
  • Watch your child when he eats and avoid giving him foods that he might choke on. Examples include "hard to chew" food like steak, "small and round" food like hot dogs, grapes, peanuts, popcorn (hot dogs and grapes can be cut into strips), and "sticky" food like peanut butter (peanut butter can be mixed with plain yogurt to decrease stickiness).

How to care for your child's mouth:
  • Your child can begin brushing her teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush around 18 months, but will need your help to floss and clean teeth completely.
  • Your child may be seeing a pediatric dentist every 6 months.

How your child uses his hands (your child's fine motor skill development):
  • Your child will move from finger feeding to trying to use a spoon this year.
  • With practice, your baby can learn to drop toys into buckets or bowls.
  • Your child may enjoy making marks on paper with crayons. Supervise him so he does not put the crayons in his mouth or color on the wall (a favorite)!
  • You may notice that your child loves to stack things up and then knock things down.
  • Your child may enjoy nesting cups and stacking rings and other toys that fit inside each other or on top of each other. For example, he will be able to stack 2 to 3 blocks to make a tower.
  • Your child may enjoy simple shape sorters or puzzles after 18 months.
  • Your child may try to take things apart. Keep toys with small parts that your child could choke on away from him.

How your child moves (your child's gross motor skill development):
  • Your child will use lots of energy to learn to walk.
  • Soft shoes or bare feet are probably best when your child is learning to walk. Some shoes may be so stiff that a child's foot can't bend or move easily in them.
  • Your child will learn how to roll and kick a ball.
  • If there are stairs in your child's environment, she may try to walk up them with help. Next she will put both feet on one step before going to the next step. Never let her do this alone. Always supervise her near the stairs.
  • Always use baby gates or locked doors to protect your baby from stairs and open windows unless you are there to help her and keep her safe.

How your child communicates (your child's speech and language development):
  • When your child points at something, it is to let you know that it has caught his attention. Use your words to teach your baby the names of objects.
  • Your child will learn to point to pictures he recognizes in books or points to parts of his body if you ask him where it is.
  • In this period, your child will begin to say words for the most familiar things or people in his surroundings. By 24 months, he should know at least 50 words.
  • Your child may pronounce a word differently than you do. Don't correct him, just repeat the word correctly so he can hear it.
  • By his second birthday, your child is putting two and three words together to make simple sentences like "Mama go bye-bye" or "want cookie."

How your child explores (your child's cognitive development):
  • Your child will spend more time exploring an object than she has before.
  • Your child will be more interested in turning pages of her favorite books herself.
  • Your child will learn how to match two objects together by color, shape or size.
  • Your child is paying more attention to the actions of others, and may try to imitate those actions like feeding his doll with a cup or spoon.

How your child is growing emotionally (your child's social and emotional development):
  • Your child is learning how to communicate his wants, needs, and feelings by using words and facial expressions.
  • "No" is usually a very popular word. Your child may say "No" when he means "Yes".
  • The more often you use the word "No" with your child, the more often he will probably say "No" to you, so use it only when really needed.
  • Your child will begin to recognize herself in the mirror.
  • Your child may play next to another child, but your child will not learn to share until he is three to four years old.
  • Your child may prefer the company of adults rather than other children.
  • Your child may show jealousy when he isn't the center of attention.

Loving and playing with your child:
  • Make getting dressed and undressed a fun experience and your child may join in and learn to start undressing herself.
  • Tantrums are normal at this stage. Your child wants to explore everything and she cannot judge safe and unsafe activities. She will feel frustrated when you limit her activities to keep her safe. Also she does not have enough words in her vocabulary to explain herself and what she wants.
  • Redirect your child from unsafe activities to more appropriate activities. For example, instead of telling your child not to touch the glass figurines on the coffee table, put them where she can't reach them or climb up to them.
  • Read books with repetition and rhyme. Children this age love rhyming.
  • As you read point to the pictures from left to right on a page to introduce your child to how we read.
  • Play "show me" with books! For example, "Where's the kitty? Show me the kitty." Show excitement yourself when she points to the kitty.

How to keep your child healthy:

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