How is your toddler’s body language? Is they fluent yet? There are plenty of children at this age who aren’t saying more than a word or two that anyone can understand, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t finding ways to make themselves understood. Babies and toddlers may not be born with the instinct to wave hello or goodbye, but it doesn’t take too much encouragement to help them pick up the habit, and one thing they don’t need much encouragement to do at all is pointing, whether they’re pointing to the things they want, or just pointing to the things they want to make sure you see.
It’s important to keep these new skills in mind, because as Baby gets ready to make their next series of great leaps forward, there’s a good chance they'll go through a phase that can feel like a few baby-steps back. Their sleep might start to get unpredictable and punctuated by sudden wake-ups you thought your family had moved past. Separation anxiety and stranger anxiety might raise their screamy heads. You might even have to deal with a tantrum or two, though Baby is still a little young to have really mastered the art of the tantrum.
That’s the stormiest forecast, of course. Plenty of children breeze into new phases of their lives fairly easily, and even more than that have a few harder transitions and a few easier ones. In any case, Baby is making their way towards toddlerhood, whether it’s at a steady crawl or a headlong leap. Many children spend a little extra energy early on developing their physical skills, and take a little longer to master language, while others chatter early and often but take a little longer to really get interested in moving their feet.
No matter what the order, though, those two big steps forward are coming up fast, and with them, a lot of the time, come a whole lot of opinions. Baby may jump into an independent attitude with both feet, or they may dip a toe or two in a little more slowly. Either way, as their physical skills, and their ability to communicate grow, they will only want to use those new skills more and more often, and in more and more interesting ways.
- Has favorite things or people: One of the ways Baby has started to differentiate themself from you or their other caregivers is by having opinions. A lot of those opinions are just going to be “no!” but having favorites is another common theme. This can mean anything from making sure they get very specific breakfast dishes to watching them choose a favorite parent for a few weeks.
- Tries to say words you’ve said: They might not actually succeed every time, but if they try to repeat the words you say, they are probably trying to learn from you as their language skills develop.
- T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., Touchpoints: Birth to Three, 2nd Edition, Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D., De Capo Press. 2006. Print.
- “Hand and Finger Skills.” HealthyChildren.org. American Academy of Pediatrics. August 1, 2009. Web.
- “These Hands Were Made for Talking.” HealthyChildren.org. American Academy of Pediatrics. June 1, 2010. Web.