After the 18 month milestone, it may be hard to keep track of your little one simply because at this stage they are moving around so much! It is an exciting time; your baby is now a toddler and the toddler stage is lots of fun as well as lots of work. Enjoy it, as it flies by, and make the most of the fact that you can now communicate with your baby in a much more real and effective way.
While your little one may love to run, they may not be so good at stopping or changing direction! They will be enjoying independence in new and exciting ways; feeding themselves with a spoon at 19 months and moving on to a fork in the following months, dexterity improves with every month making it easier for them to play and move around. As they practice, they will improve further and you will see major developments in how they move themselves and objects. Ride-on toys will become a new favourite as they learn to propel themselves forward in new ways.
Your little one may be a real chatterbox by this stage, or they may reserve their chatter for certain people. Either way, by the time they are 2 years old they will have amassed a vocabulary of several hundred words. They will be able to name many of the things around them and describe things well. Sentences will develop to include more words and you may notice that your child is jabbering and chattering to themselves, singing rhymes and songs (perhaps with their own unique lyrics!) and loves to mimic new words and sounds.
Between the ages of 18 months and 2 years, your toddler is developing a lot on an emotional level. This has its perks and its tough times. On the plus side your child is much more able to express how they feel and show you affection, but they aren’t completely able to cope with all their emotions and this is the root of the toddler tantrum.
Your toddler is developing socially and will go from being intensely inquisitive to acting very shy. They may also go from enjoying playing alongside other children to being aggressive or possessive over toys. This might all seem very difficult to deal with but it all comes down to your child’s rapidly developing sense of self and their sudden burst of social development.
This can feel like a difficult time, as well as a rewarding one. Teach your child from this early age how to interact socially and how to cope with emotions and you will be setting them up with important coping skills that they will carry into later life. Remember that they are still too young to really understand hard and fast rules and regulations and may forget instructions quite easily so they need you to be patient and keep gently reminding them of how to behave. Enjoy this time by playing with them and making full use of their natural inquisitiveness to encourage them to learn.
The HSE have more information on their ‘Caring for your Baby and Child’ page