Around 18 months your toddler may …
Start exploring knobs, switches and handles – Give your toddler safe opportunities to explore and “make things work.”
Begin to understand simple requests – Give your toddler opportunities to practice answering simple questions: “Go find your new truck!” “Could you please go get a diaper?”
Run and Climb – Try running on grass and sand.
Learn animal names and sounds – Point out animals you see in picture books and sing songs like “Old McDonald.”
Start to develop positive or negative beliefs about their body – Promoting a positive body image is one of the best gifts a parent can give their child. Healthy eating, regular activity, and speaking positively about your body and your child’s body is helpful.
Find effective strategies for discipline. Discipline means to teaching and guiding a child to be responsible and to cooperate. Now, more than ever, it is important for you to be consistent with your toddler, as she may begin to test limits. Here are some keys to successful discipline.
- Keep your words short, simple and direct. Remember that your toddler understands more than she can say.
- Redirect activities when your toddler is acting out. Instead of simply saying “No” offer an alternative activity.
- Reward positive behavior consistently
Working through temper tantrums – Temper tantrums are normal and often happen when children are overly tired, hungry or on emotional overload. Responding calmly is most important. Then think about what your child is telling you through her tantrum. Does she need your attention for a few extra minutes? Is she trying to tell you something but lacking the right words? Being a parent can be challenging at times. For more parenting resources, contact your Healthy Futures nurse.
Keep your busy toddler safe. Here are a few things you can do for your toddler.
- Set up a safe area for outside play
- Always supervise your toddler – but especially outside and in the bathtub. Children can drown in very small amounts of water, such as water contained in buckets, toilets and wading pools.
- Post poison control number by your phone:1-800-222-1222
- Continue to use an approved car seat
- Set an example and start a lifetime of healthy habits. The secret to a healthy lifestyle is establishing routines at an early age. Try to incorporate 30 minutes of activity into your family’s routine each day. Activity doesn’t have to mean a trip to the gym; there many simple things you can do at home to add a little extra physical activity to your day. Here are a few ideas:
- Dance in the living room
- Skip to the mail box
- Run around the house a few times
- Go for a bike ride
- Play ball in the yard
- Play at a park or beach
- Most importantly – find something you enjoy!
Your toddler is due for his 18-month immunizations and well-baby checkup. Vaccine-preventable diseases can cause serious harm to children who are not fully immunized. Call your toddler’s health care provider or your local health department to make an appointment.