Well, you made it through the first year. Hopefully, you baby is developing along the paths of the developmental milestones at an adequate pace. If you feel that your child is not meeting the basics of the developmental milestones, there is still a lot you can do to help them.
In the first three parts of this series, we talked about the Physical Development, the Mental Development, and the Social Development for babies in the first year. Now that you are in the second year we are going to divide the developmental periods into 12-18 months and then 18-24 months because these periods are so vastly different. This article will be focusing on the physical, mental, and social development of the baby 12-18 months.
Your baby is still growing. They should weigh somewhere between 17-30 pounds at this time. They may be walking off some of their “baby fat” if they have started to walk and sense they are more than likely more active. What is factoring in the weight now is the bones are solidifying more and they are gaining muscle. And as any gym enthusiast will tell you, Muscle weighs more than fat.
In addition to the small weight gain, they should be between 27-35 inches high. They are able to get around and are getting taller so they are able to reach things they could not before. This is a great time to baby proof you house some more and to check to make sure the past precautions are still in place.
One way to determine what needs to be “baby proofed” is to get down on your knees and see things from the baby’s perspective. Put up chemicals and other hazardous materials so they cannot get to them.
They can crawl well, pull up easily, and may have started to walk. Check all this out as well. Along with this, remember the babies like to pull, push, and dump things out. This is a way of learning. You should have a box or bucket full of things the baby can do to fulfill this need. It might make things easier on you and your valuable items sitting around. Be prepared though, they will still go after knick knacks when given the opportunity. Babies like, bright shiny things, and knick knacks are surely bright and shiny.
In addition to pushing, pulling and dumping things, babies like to twist, squeeze, and poke things. Usually daddy’s and mommy’s and on occasion other kids in the house or that come to visit. Eyes will get poked. Hair will get pulled and twisted. And noses will get squeezed. I guarantee that. Crying and tears will be heard and seen from your baby and others during this time.
The baby will be able to eat different types of food now. They will be able to hold a spoon, but finding the mouth with the spoon may be difficult. More food will be on the face, hands, and clothes than will ever make it into the stomach.
Your baby will enjoy carrying things around and will off hats and other small items of clothes. They may get to know how to take off coats or jackets that are not button but this is usually later.
A word of warning here, all crayons, markers, pencils, and pens, should be put up or even thrown out of the house. The babies will find those things and your walls will become Picassos.
Other fine motor skills will start to appear, the baby will be able to roll cars and balls upon request and they find this quite enjoyable and will want you to do it for hours. They will also wave bye to others and it looks so cute.
As your baby starts to develop more physically, they will be able to use the sense to explore more items. Also some concrete thinking does come around.
They will have a vocabulary of about 5-20 words at this time. Most will be nouns or things they have heard. They closer to the 18 months they will start to develop request words. This is words like “up” when they want you to pick them up. “More” when they would like to have more of something and “out” when they realized there is a door and you may take them outside.
They now make some direct eye contact or at least will look in the general direction of the person talking to them. They may not be listening, but they can if you prompt them to. They can also say “hi” and “bye” when it is requested of them.
If they want something they will point to it and make noise, such as grunting or attempting to say the words. This is how some parents learn what the baby is trying to say, when the sound is paired with the pointing.
Along with the fine motor skills, the baby is interested in how things are working, so they will take stuff apart. If this requires breaking something, so be it. Put your valuables up. I cannot say this enough.
Erik Erickson intentionally left the time from 1 year old to 2 year old out of his psychosocial developmental stages. When someone asked him why, he said to allow the child time to grow into their body and mind. He said the period was important but the baby is somewhere between the Trust versus Mistrust stage and the Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt Stage. We will get to the later when we discuss the two year old.
Taking what Erickson said, this is a time the child may need to sure up trust issues and will start to evolve in the more autonomy. This answers the question of the stranger anxiety that we talked about one of the previous articles. It also explains why the child will go out from the parents so far (autonomy) and then turn and run back (Trust).
During this time there is a lot of social learning going on still. They will become upset when separated from their parents or caregiver. However, they want to play alone in the floor with their toys. They will play next to another child (parallel play) but does not want the other child to touch their stuff. They will, however, want to get toy from others. They are ego centric and selfish.
They like to hand things to others. They will play this game for hours if you will just sit and play with them. If you applaud or make a fuss over anything they do, such as handing you an object, this reinforces the behaviors and you will be playing it again for hours. I am not saying do not applaud and make a fuss, I am just saying be prepared.
They will start to recognize themselves in mirrors and will stare at themselves all they can. It is almost like they found a new best friend. Let’s hope they really do like the person in the mirror. That will stave off many mental disorders in their future if so.
The baby really enjoys being held and read to. They will start to imitate sounds such as
Even though it sounds like Erickson downplays this time of development, I believe he was just saying you might have to let some children develop the trust issues longer. This can be said for all the mental, physical, and social developmental milestones we talked about here. If you feel like your child is not developing right, please see your pediatrician or developmental specialist. Do not let this article be a substitute for the sound advice they can give to you. You and them know your children better than I do, from my position behind a computer, many miles away.
Take care of yourself and others. Make today and everyday a great day.
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