Baby's Second Year -- Your 18-Month-Old

WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH YOUR CHILD:
5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW


1. Your child's language and motor skills are improving. Each day he shows his new talents by exclaiming new words and mini sentences, or by performing seemingly impossible acrobatic feats. Now when you sit down and read to him, he's apt to turn the pages for you and name the objects on his favorite page. And, after a hard day's play, he'll even be able to wash his hands -- though you'll need to supervise and be available to dry the counter afterwards. Continue to talk and read to your child. Involve him in your family's daily routine. You'll marvel at the skills he learns and the words that come out of that adorable little mouth.

2. Your child may be able to say her own name. It's the name you spent months pondering, but you probably never imagined what it would sound like coming out of your child's mouth!

Your child is also beginning to associate names with people, and quite possibly with features such as her nose, eyes and mouth. Now she may begin pointing to pictures in her favorite books. Help her learn the names of things by repeating the words when she points to them. She's starting to realize that every object has a name and will soon expect you to help her learn what to call each item she sees. Enjoy her seemingly endless curiosity and delight in every new word she learns.

3. Your child is becoming more independent. He is entering the "I do it" stage, when he wants to do everything for himself. He may now enjoy climbing onto his bike for a ride across the lawn or down the driveway. You'll notice that the separation anxiety that caused him to cling to you is beginning to wear off. Don't worry, though. He's still most comfortable with you around and probably won't stray too far. Guide him gently and allow him to learn new tasks. Just be certain to supervise him more closely than ever before. With this new independence comes the wonderful art of testing limits. Set rules and gently but firmly stick to your decisions. Although he'll want to push harder, toddlers do enjoy a sense of order and structure. Enjoy these new challenges and keep your cameras handy to record his every move!

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