Talk to your doctor if your child isn't reaching normal growth and development milestones. But keep in mind that every child develops at a different pace. A child who is slow to reach milestones in one area, such as talking, may be ahead in another area, such as walking. Usually it is of more concern when a child reaches developmental milestones but then loses those abilities.
There are things you can do to help promote your child's growth and development.
- Adopt healthy eating strategies.
Picky eating is common during this age. But a simple and relaxed approach to eating usually helps your child to eat well. Offer healthy foods at regular times. It may also help to set a pattern by being together at the table for all main meals.
- See your doctor for all well-child exams.
During these visits, the doctor will measure your child's growth to make sure that your child is on track. The doctor will also give your child any needed immunizations.
- Teach healthy habits.
Teaching healthy habits can help reduce your child's risk of infections.
- Build with blocks.
Help your child learn to stack blocks and knock them down.
- Scribble on paper.
You can find washable and thick crayons and pencils that are made for a toddler's fisted grip.
- Play with balls and other moving toys.
Toddlers love to watch a rolling ball. It helps them learn to track objects. It also improves eye-hand coordination.
- Find toys that your child can turn, sort, pound, push, and pull.
Examples of toys include knobs, sort-by-shape toys, and thick-paged books.
- Spend time with your child.
Make an extra effort to sit and play, read, and talk to your child. Don't worry too much about having "play dates" and organized activities for your child between the first and second birthdays. Children this age don't interact much with each other. Rather, they tend to play alone but near each other, a behavior called "parallel play." Your love and attention are the most important factors that help your child's social and emotional growth.
- Know about your child's individual temperament.
Every child is different. Getting to know your child's personality helps you to predict and handle their reactions to everyday situations.
- Praise your child.
When your child reacts well to a difficult situation, such as leaving the park without protest, tell them how proud you are. Your child may not understand the exact meaning of your words. But your child will link the positive behavior with your approval.
- Don't respond to angry outbursts.
When you react to a child's temper tantrum or similar behavior, it is more likely to continue. Unless your child's behavior is dangerous, ignore it. (But stay nearby and soothe your child as needed.) After the outburst is over, you can talk to your child calmly. Reassure your child that everything is okay. It's very important that you do not get angry or threaten to spank or hurt your child. Staying calm can sometimes be hard. Keep in mind that you are the model for your child's behavior.
- Provide safe opportunities for exploration.
Play games that encourage walking and movement, and go outside when you can. For example, help your child walk around the yard with push toys, such as play lawn mowers or bubble poppers. Play chase and race in areas that allow "soft landings."
- Help your child to climb stairs.
Keep a secure hold on your child as the two of you go up and down stairs together.
- Let your child feel different textures.
Find items that let your child safely explore the concepts of soft, hard, fuzzy, wet, dry, cold, and warm.
Get face-to-face and eye-to-eye with your child as much as you can when you interact. Talk in slow and regular speech about the things your toddler can see, what you are doing together, or those things that are an important part of your child's world.
- Respond to your child's words.
Repeat and expand on what your child says.
- Ask your toddler to use words to express meaning.
Teach words like "happy," "sad," "angry," "want," "like," and "don't like" so that the child can start to link words with feelings and wants.
- Read to your child every day.
Also use songs, stories, games, and rhymes to engage your child in language. To help your child's brain develop, play or read together instead of letting your child watch TV, watch movies, or play games on a screen.
Here are some important things to do when you are caring for children.