Nothing seems to stop your little energizer bunny these days. After her first birthday, she probably seems like a new person altogether! Where did your baby go? Fret not; we take you through the developmental milestones to expect after the first year and look at how everyday activities can aid your little learner too!
Physical & motor development
Milestones: Able to walk steadily and starts climbing up furniture
Try this: If your little bub is walking well, help him build his confidence by introducing the steps of a staircase. This will allow him to learn how to control his muscles and bodily movements as he goes up and down—with your support, of course.
As for furniture climbing, it’s almost inevitable to prevent this as sofas and beds are now within reach. Do keep a close watch when this happens and, when necessary, babyproof the floor with a playmat which can serve as a cushion should he fall.
Milestone: Holds pen or marker to scribble on paper or other surfaces
Try this: When this happens, most parents freak out at the stubborn ink that won’t leave their walls or fabric surfaces of furniture. Prepare plenty of paper for your little one, or even a big enough whiteboard for him to doodle on, which you can wipe away for a fresh start. Consider getting non-toxic washable markers too; these can save you from the hassle of hard scrubbing, just in case.
Social & emotional development
Milestone: Eager to run simple errands
Try this: Your excited toddler has probably discovered his newfound skill of being able to walk steadily and can help with some things around the house. Let him get busy and involved in daily activities by asking him to help throw light rubbish into the dustbin. (This helps establish correlations between objects; in this case, he learns the correlation of trash and the dustbin.) Or get your little munchkin to bring his storybooks to you and both can enjoy some reading time together.
Milestone: Start playing pretend with toys and acting out certain actions
Try this: Oh, what fun now that her dolls and teddy bears will be joining her for meals too! Your observant junior is playing out roles and behaviours that she has since downloaded in her mind and now it’s time to start acting them out.
Encourage her social and emotional skills by playing along, asking her questions that will allow her to respond accordingly with actions or words—feeding her dolls, combing their hair, kissing and hugging them before bedtime. Get creative and have daddy and the rest of the family involved too! Meanwhile, have you noticed that someone is getting more and more affectionate with her generous gestures of love? Adults are guaranteed to be tickled with this new discovery of how much the toddler actually knows!
Learning & cognitive development
Milestone: Able to identify objects and animals
Try this: Flash cards, books, and pictures from magazines can be your child’s new best friends. But seeing real animals such as cats and dogs can very well intrigue her—who knows, she probably won’t resist giving them a pat too. Association between objects and words starts to occur, and your child may start pointing them out to you in her own way, e.g. she may refer to ants and cockroaches as “kaka”. Continue speaking and teaching her—she’s definitely all ears now.
Milestone: Increasing skill levels in thinking, learning, remembering, and reasoning
Try this: The little one may start showing that he remembers a past event through simple actions. People that he has met before may now seem familiar, doing away with stranger anxiety after seeing them again. He knows the order of things now, and is even keen to be part of it.
Have your child involved in meal preparation; for example, when you’re about to serve food, ask him where the bowl is. If it’s kept in a cupboard that he can reach, he will likely open it and take it to you. He might have seen you doing the very same action in the past and, therefore, don’t be surprised when he actually heads to the right side of the cupboard. Ask him questions like “Where is the milk?” and he might point to the fridge or his milk bottle. Before long, he will understand the idea of routine in view of the order that’s present in his life.
Language & sensory development
Milestone: Able to understand 10 times more than what he is able to put into words
Try this: Your little charmer may not be dishing out “I love you” as yet, but never underestimate his power of comprehension at this stage. Being able to understand simple instructions and acting out accordingly are part of the fun when it comes to language development. Try it and you’ll be surprised. Simple, common sentences—like “Milk, milk,” “Sit here,” “Please throw this in the dustbin”—are actually making sense! Now, you really should watch what you say in front of your child because he’s ALWAYS listening!
Some experts suggest that most toddlers are able to speak more than 50 words by 24 months. However, remember that every child develops at varying pace; some develop faster in other areas. Do not be alarmed if your child does not seem to “achieve” this number. But if your child is not speaking at all by 24 months old, it is recommended to speak to your child’s doctor about your concerns.
We hope you found this guide a handy one in coming up with ways on how to help your child’s development through daily activities. Toddlerhood is a new arena for your child altogether; it’s an amazing route to self-discovery for parents too. Have fun exploring new horizons with your shining star!
How do you get your child involved in your daily lives as part of toddler development activities? Do share them with us!