Toddler Development – Month 13 – What’s Happening This Month?

Monday July 16, 2018


Reading Time:
3 minutes

It’s a wonderful world of discovery for 13 month olds!

Life is a big adventure for 13 month olds as they develop their own and very individual characters. For some, it may mean taking their firsts steps, but if you have a competent crawler or bum shuffler in the house, they may well think that walking is far too slow for them!  Some toddlers like to mix crawling with walking and plenty of encouragement at this stage will definitely give them the confidence to take their first solo steps! If they do start to walk, don’t be in a great hurry to buy their first pair of shoes – no matter how exciting it is – Children’s feet notoriously spread as they become competent walkers, and this means that their first pair of shoes could be too small in a fortnight!

At 13 months old, your toddler will understand much of what you are saying and may even have uttered their first words of ‘dada or ‘goodbye‘. Fill their world with words and plenty of interest; describe where you are going and what you plan to do and who you will meet. Describe everything in detail, pointing to colours and numbers. It may feel funny having all of these one-way conversations, but rest assured – your child at this age is like a sponge and is absorbing so much information which will be put to good use in the not too distant future!

Food is a great source of delight and most 13-month olds want to have a go at feeding themselves. Try not to be in a hurry and let them try using a spoon and use a second spoon to pop food in their mouth. Finger foods are great too. Introduce as many new flavours and textures as possible as you will soon learn which are the firm favourites, be cautious with spicy or herby foods and don’t add salt to anything as there is enough in most foods anyway! It is a good time to introduce drinking from a beaker and this can usually be achieved pretty quickly. It is worth teaching how to drink with a straw too as it means that you can buy emergency rations of juice if you have been caught out – although ideally, 50-50 juice and water is best.

Sleep is still really important especially as the surge in physical activity can cause extra tiredness. Many toddlers start to juggle with their daytime naps at this time and may reduce them from two to one. If they have problems settling, a walk with the pushchair or a steady drive at 30 mph can be almost hypnotic!

Life is one big exploration at this stage and this is reflected in favourite toys which include an array of packets and cartons (considered by most toddlers as far more fun than their contents!), playdough (but watch that it isn’t sampled!), a large shallow carton or tin of water with things for scooping and pouring and a collection of funny hats to wear.

At this age, your toddler will start ‘pushing the boundaries’ so a good daily bedtime routine is essential with bath time, followed by a short story and goodnight kiss. Leave a soft night light on in their room for comfort and don’t creep around downstairs, everyday noises are comforting to sleeping toddlers.

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Chrissie Stephen

Chrissie Stephen

Chrissie Stephen is an established writer from the UK. She now lives in the south west of France. She has three children and four grandchildren. She has worked with children much of her life as a Guider, Playgroup Leader and House Mother for an international boarding school. When she is not writing she can be found gardening, cooking or trying to improve her French.

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