At 16 months, Baby may still be a step or two away from toddling, but she is most likely almost there. If she is walking already, keep an eye out for the next step – Baby isn’t just going to master that one skill and then rest. Once toddlers can walk, it’s often not long until they’re running, climbing stairs, or even climbing furniture. A quick scan to make sure your home is toddler-proofed for someone who might be ready to start climbing can go a long way.
If Baby has only just started learning to walk, there’s a good chance that her walk still looks a little funny – children who are still learning to walk don’t have great balance yet. To make up for the balance, they may walk with their legs spread wide, and may stand by pushing their butts up into the air, then pushing up off the ground on their hands. It may not be the most graceful maneuver, but it’s definitely a great place to start. Make sure to grab a picture or two, though – she will figure out how to stand up with a bit more dignity before you know it.
No matter how she’s moving around these days, it’s important for Baby to have the chance to explore, and to direct her own play during this time, instead of doing all or most of her play lead by a parent, or in structured groups or activities. Spending some time in self-directed free play doesn’t mean Baby doesn’t need or want you around, though – if anything, knowing you’re there watching out for her gives Baby more confidence to explore.
That’s true of a lot of parts of Baby’s day – even when you don’t feel like you’re playing an active part in teaching her, she’s learning from you. As she grows, she is starting to learn as much from what you don’t do for her, and the spaces you leave for her to try things for herself, as she does from the things you do for her. For example, she has learned all about what spoons are for by watching you for months, but these days, she is learning more by using them herself – putting what she learned by watching you into practice!
- Can follow simple instructions/requests: You may have been asking Baby for favors since they just wouldn’t fall asleep at 3 days old, but they is actually starting to have the language skills to grasp what you’re asking for, as long as you keep things pretty simple.
- Can take off some of her clothes off: Baby may still be a little ways away from getting dressed on her own, but there may be a few items of that she can take off — sometimes whether you want her to or not!
- T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., Touchpoints: Birth to Three, 2nd Edition, Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D., De Capo Press. 2006. Print.