Thursday August 16, 2018
Although much of your conversation together will still be non-verbal with plenty of pointing, grunting and gesturing, by this age, your toddler will dazzle you with his/her powers of comprehension. You may well say that you need to fetch something and find it brought to you with a big smile. A really special moment is when a hug and a kiss are spontaneously reciprocated for the first time.
Toddlers of this age are ‘very busy little people’ and will rarely just walk from A to B if they can push, drag or carry something too! Climbing is a new specialty as they will want to climb on the sofa to get a view from the window and they will soon be pushing a chair towards the window for the same reason. Your childproofing of each room will certainly be put to the test! The most important room to re-assess is the kitchen – and especially the cooker. Don’t use any of the front hot plates for saucepans, but just the back ones and make sure that all saucepan handles are facing inwards and not overhanging the edge of the cooker where they could be reached. Another place to check that is safe is the sink cupboard, which is where most people keep cleaning materials – best to put a childproof lock on it so that little hands can’t get in there.
Your toddler will definitely be getting very artistic and will be thoroughly enjoying crayoning, but this does demand supervision, otherwise, you will find colorful additions to walls, cupboards, and books. 16 months is a good time to try finger painting. Homemade finger paints work well and plenty of preparation with plenty of newspaper and a sturdy craft overall for both of you will minimize washing afterwards! If your toddler does not always put things in their mouth, it is fun to experiment with some homemade play dough or pastry and a miniature baking set. The pastry can be made into some ‘creatively shaped’ jam tarts and they will love being able to eat the products of their labor!
At this age, it is fun to develop your child’s five senses by encouraging them to smell and to hear everything around them with questions like ‘can you smell that lovely smell of grass now Daddy has cut the front lawn?’ and ‘Can you hear the Cuckoo? What noise is he making?’ Discovering taste can be lots of fun as you add to your child’s vocabulary with words to describe the food he is sampling. It is best at this stage to phase out any baby language you have been sharing together and to talk using straightforward adult words – you will be amazed at how quickly they are learned. Many toddlers at this age are still trying to sort out their daytime naps and many consolidate the morning and afternoon one into a slightly longer siesta at lunchtime. It is best not to let your child sleep beyond 4.00 p.m. as it will be unlikely that they will be ready to go to bed at their normal bedtime. If you can, establish a good routine so that he/she goes to bed for a nap, even if they do not appear tired. If they have a couple of books and a favorite toy with them, they can always enjoy some restful time before all the adventure of the afternoon.
Books will be even more important to your toddler now and he/she will love to climb next to you for a read together. With a greater attention span now, longer books will be possible, and these can be extra fun if you ask several questions about what can be seen in each picture – best not to do this at bedtime though as you are trying to calm the tempo so that there are big yawns before the end of the story.