17 months old

Why walk when you can run? At 17 months, that’s a question your little one may have started asking themselves any time he has any room to roam – or even when he doesn’t. As long as he is somewhere it’s safe to run, running is a great way for him to strengthen his muscles and get some of the exercise he needs as he grows.

Of course, it all depends on Baby’s personality, but there’s a good chance that his favorite games are pretty active these days in general, even if he isn’t running. For instance, his favorite thing to do with blocks is probably still knocking them down after someone stacks them up. Give him a month or two, though, and he will probably start figuring out the physics of stacking blocks for themselves – and then knock them down.

The ability to stack blocks on top of each other is a great sign of how much Baby’s fine motor control has grown. Another activity that’s good for fine motor control, and that shows just how far Baby has come, is putting toys or beads into buckets or cups. More than a game, though, that’s an activity that could be the beginning of Baby learning to clean up after themselves after he’s done playing.

Baby’s next well-child visit is about a month away, and when you’re there, Baby’s healthcare provider may talk to you about setting limits for Baby, and using age-appropriate timeouts. He or she may also bring up toilet training. The vast majority of children aren’t ready for toilet training at this point, but he is probably getting closer and closer to being ready, and some children need to learn toilet training at a specific point as a part of their childcare program. It can be helpful to think about these subjects as they apply to your family before this well-child visit, so you can come in prepared with any questions you might have.

Milestones

  • Picks up very small objects (beads, pebbles): It’s not just the big changes in Baby’s life that are exciting – the little things are a big deal, too, especially the very little things. Your little one’s ability to pick up very small objects is an example of very fine motor control that he’s been working towards since back when the only way he could pick things up was by raking through them with his open hand.
  • Hits, kicks, or lashes out when upset: It’s not the most fun milestone, but many children around Baby’s age go through a stage of lashing out when they’re upset, especially if his great big feelings are growing faster than his language skills. If Baby has started lashing out, it’s probably time to start working on different ways to manage his feelings. Baby isn’t lashing out to hurt anybody, he just doesn’t know how else to respond to his emotions yet.

Sources
  • T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., Touchpoints: Birth to Three, 2nd Edition, Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D., De Capo Press. 2006. Print.
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