When a child hits the 18-month-old mark, their life is all about transitions. The Bump writes that many toddlers in this age group are starting to be weaned from either formula milk or their mother’s milk and are learning how to drink regular milk from a “big kid” sippy cup.
Children of this age are also like little sponges that watch their parents and the rest of their family members like hawks and mimic pretty much everything that they see the “adults” do.
For example, when my little sister was a toddler, she used to closely observe my mother cooking dinner and the next day, we’d often see her pretend to cook a meal for either her Barbie dolls or her favorite teddy bear.
Toddlers are also learning through their observational skills, which is why Parents says it is important that moms take the time out to read nursery rhymes with their child on a daily basis. Not only will it give them a boost in terms of their development, but it also helps to teach them the building blocks of verbal skills too.
Moms that have a child that is rapidly approaching the 18-month-old mark, underneath are all of the tasks that should be part of the daily routine for the toddler.
21 Read At Least 20 Minutes Every Day
Parents notes that by the time a child is 18 months of age, their mother and father should get into the habit of reading to them almost every day if their schedule allows for it.
At this stage in their lives, children are like little informational sponges that soak up everything they see, hear, and read faster than the speed of light. Research has shown that it can give a child a bit of a boost if moms attempt to try and read to their child for at least 20 minutes each day and asks them questions about the story they just read when they are done.
20 Take Time Out To Recite Nursery Rhymes
According to Parents, another great way to help a child’s development along is by reading them nursery rhymes either at some point during the day, such as right before nap time or as a way to help them fall asleep when it is time for them to go to bed.
Early Years Careers adds that taking the time out to introduce a child to a wide variety of nursery rhymes are a great way to teach them about different sounds and helps build a solid foundation in their communication skills for when it comes time for them to learn how to read, write and properly pronounce words.
19 Listen To Music With Your Child
Parents writes that moms should also try to regularly play fun and catchy music for their little one to listen to. Ideally, this should be when they are hanging out around the house or when they are in the car to by the time their child hits this age.
According to Early Years Careers, listening to music on a daily basis will help your child develop literacy skills because fun music with repetitive lyrics can catch their attention and help them learn how to sound out words, which is a skill that they need in order to give their development a bit of a boost.
18 Teach Them About Different Shapes
Parents writes that another skill that moms should be teaching their children at this age is how to identify common shapes and colors such as “the red ball” or “the green building blocks”.
Guru Parents points out that not only will teaching your child how to immediately recognize and describe common shapes help your little one improve their blossoming verbal communication skills, but it will also help them learn essential pre-reading and writing skills too. Plus, learning how to sort objects by their different shapes is also a great way to teach your child the beginnings of basic logic skills.
17 Point Out Different Body Parts, Like The Nose Or A Finger
According to Parents, another fun activity moms should try to play on the regular with their toddlers is identifying different parts of their body. For example, make it part of your daily routine to see if your little one can point out their nose, fingers or even their pinky toes.
Once your child gets very good at being able to identify the different parts of his or her body, you can make the game a bit more challenging for your son or daughter by asking them to correctly point out the parts on their body (like a nose) and then see if they can point to the corresponding part on your own body.
16 Introduce Them To The Idea Of Following Instructions
Learning how to follow instructions is an essential skill that all toddlers need to learn since it will come in handy when it is time for them to go to school and it is important that their moms take the time out to engage them in activities that will get them used to doing this.
Parents writes that one way to teach your little one how to follow instructions is by incorporating them into fun games and keep it from being too repetitive, lest your little one get bored from doing the same thing over and over again. For example, you can ask them to pick up a toy ball of a specific color or ask them to pick out a teddy bear from their line-up of dolls.
15 Teach Them To Feed Themselves
The CDC points out that one milestone that moms need to make sure that little ones reach is being able to learn how to feed themselves with a spoon by the time they are 18 months old.
Parents writes that teaching your little one how to use a spoon—even if the two of you are playing—is a good way to help your child develop the hand-eye coordination skills they need in order to reach the necessary developmental milestones. One way to make sure that they keep improving these hand-eye coordination skills is to encourage your child to pretend to feed their dolls or stuffed animals.
14 Stay Firm With A Sleep Routine
Bounty points out that mothers need to be prepared in advance for their child to suddenly become a bit more obstinate when it comes to their sleep schedule. For example, your little one may kick up a fuss about going to bed at a certain time or constantly wake you up in the middle of the night because they can’t sleep.
This behavior can be frustrating, but parenting experts agree that it is perfectly normal for your child’s sleep schedule to become a bit disjointed at this age. Just remember to stay calm and stick to the usual routine because this will all blow over eventually.
13 Teach Little Ones To Dress Themselves
Raising Children notes that when toddlers become 18 months old, they are often very curious about what’s going on around them and they’re quick to mimic their parents in all that they do.
Moms need to make sure that they start fine-tuning their child’s motor skills and begin to teach them important tasks such as helping out when it comes time to getting dressed in the morning or putting pajamas on at night before bedtime. Now that your child is older and is gaining a sense of independence, it’s good for them to get used to putting socks on and off or removing their shoes when they get inside.
12 Getting Them Used To Holding A Pencil
Bounty adds that one way moms can boost their child’s development along and make sure that they hit all of the necessary milestones in record time is by teaching them the basics of holding a pencil, since they’re going to need to learn how to do that before starting school.
One way to do that is by demonstrating the correct way to hold a pencil when the two of you are sitting down and coloring in coloring books. Since children at this age are incredible mimics and love to learn new things, they’ll watch your every move and keep repeating what you’re doing until they figure it out for themselves.
11 Encouraging Them To Color And Draw
When I was a little girl, my favorite activity was always to bust out my sketchpad and colored pencils or my coloring book and crayons. I was never going to be the next Pablo Picasso, but even as a child I felt that coloring and drawing was very relaxing.
Bounty adds that one way to teach your child to explore their creative side and give them a nice little cognitive boost in the right direction is by encouraging your little one to constantly draw on paper or color in the coloring books you bought for them to use. Not only will this help them develop their fine motor skills, but it will also teach them to use their imagination too.
10 Allow Them To Play With Sand To Explore Their Senses
Let’s face it, not only do toddlers love to explore, but they also like to explore in the messiest ways possible. I remember when my sister was about 18 months old and one of her favorite activities was to play in the mud. Needless to say, my parents were thankful when she grew out of that habit because it meant less laundry for them to do.
Bounty notes that moms can give their children a healthy outlet for their messy curiosity by encouraging them to play with different items such as sand or finger paints. It is pretty easy to either purchase a small sandbox online or find instructions to build one yourself so that you won’t have to constantly clean up after them and your little one gets a chance to explore.
9 Starting Potty Training
Raising Children writes that most children tend to be ready for potty training by the time they turn two years old, but it is also not uncommon for a child to show signs that he or she is ready to learn how to use the bathroom like an adult by the time they are 18 months old.
Regardless of whether or not your child is ready to commence toilet training, it is a good idea to start reading up on the different methods that can be used and start asking your pediatrician for advice so that you’re not scrambling to figure out a way to teach them to use the bathroom by themselves at the last minute.
8 Making Sure They Can Walk On Their Own
Raising Children notes that it is very important that mothers take the time out to reassure themselves that their son or daughter is able to walk on their own. Sure, they might wobble from time to time as they attempt to kick their toy ball around the living room during a rainy day, but just double check that they’re not having any kind of difficulty moving on their own.
It is also a good idea to start reading up on childproofing your house or apartment so that your active toddler doesn’t wind up accidentally knocking down a glass vase in their quest to reach an item on the shelf.
7 Listening And Talking To Your Child
According to Raising Children, most 18-month-olds have developed the ability to start to think about their feelings and emotions—which includes being able to express what they’re thinking or feeling to others. For example, your toddler might mention that she’s feeling sad when you remove her favorite stuffed animal to be washed because it has marker stains all over its stomach.
In order to ensure lifelong communication and empathy, moms should make sure that they take the time out to ask their toddler how he or she is feeling multiple times a day and praising your child every time they do something such as telling you what emotions are running through their mind, hugging you, or hugging a stuffed animal.
6 Teaching Them To Stack Blocks
Parents points out that toddlers love to show off the fact that they can do “adult” things by mimicking common actions that they see their mom and dad perform, such as talking on their cellphone or sweeping the floor with a broomstick.
Moms can use up a restless toddler’s energy and engage them in fun playtime activities that will boost their hand-eye coordination and motor skills by teaching them how to stack blocks. Once they get the hang of it after watching you build something a few times, you can then take the next step by encouraging them to build different items like a tower or a house using the blocks.
5 Develop A Plan To Ease Temper Tantrums
Every mother hopes that her child will be the most well behaved child ever, but even kids that are pretty docile can erupt into temper tantrums from time to time.
The Bump reassures moms that it is common for even the most laid-back child to throw a temper tantrum or two as a toddler because their communication skills aren’t the best and that is very frustrating for a little one to deal with. Since they can’t communicate everything that they want to say, it can lead to a full-blown melt down and that’s why it is so important for mothers to have an iron-clad plan to deal with said temper tantrums in place so you’re not caught unawares.
4 Easing Your Child's Fretfulness Over You Leaving
My sister was pretty clingy when she was a toddler and she used to become quite cross whenever my mother left for work, even after the baby sitter (whom she adored and was pretty much like a second grandmother to the both of us) arrived at our house.
The Bump writes that moms need to read up on how common it is for a child to become fretful when you leave for work and they’re either left in the hands of a baby sitter or dropped off at daycare. Try to resist the temptation to sneak away because it’s just going to reinforce their fretful behavior and stick to light-hearted goodbyes in combination with a fun activity before you go.
3 Purchasing A Toddler Bed
My parents knew it was time for my little sister to go from sleeping in a crib to sleeping in her “big girl” toddler crib after she kept trying (and not succeeding, thankfully) to climb out in an attempt to run free around the room while everyone else was asleep.
The Bump writes that moms should start looking at toddler beds or convertible cribs once they see that their child is becoming more restless in their room after you put them to bed for the night or they attempt to climb out of their crib and won’t respond to any kind of reprimands.
2 Not Fretting When Your Child Has Sleep Disturbances
I have no recollection of this, but according to my mother, I used to get sleep disturbances when I was a toddler. She admits that the first few times that she saw it happen she was a bit perturbed, but once she realized what was going on it didn’t unsettle her anymore.
The Bump writes that sleep disturbances—especially when your little one doesn’t fully wake up from whatever wacky dream they are having—are really common for 18-months-old to have and it is important to stay calm when you see they’re having an episode. Sure, it might look like a scene out of a movie, but it’s best to not wake them up and just try to soothe them back to sleep.
1 Begins Transitioning To Regular Milk
According to The Bump, moms need to make sure that they take the transition from breastfeeding their toddler to having them drink regular whole milk from a bottle slowly. For example, leave out one daily nursing session for a few days or even a week before you cross out the next one so that you don’t wind up feeling plugged up or becoming ill.
Be prepared to give them a little extra comfort during the weaning period because it’s a big step and buy cute toddler sippy cups featuring their favorite characters so they will have more of an incentive to drink regular milk.