17 months old

Why walk when you can run? At 17 months, that’s a question your little one may have started asking themself any time they have any room to roam – or even when they doesn’t. As long as they are somewhere it’s safe to run, running is a great way for them to strengthen their muscles and get some of the exercise they need as they grow.

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


  • 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 they're been working towards since back when the only way they could pick things up was by raking through them with their 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 their great big feelings are growing faster than their language skills. If Baby has started lashing out, it’s probably time to start working on different ways to manage their feelings. Baby isn’t lashing out to hurt anybody, they just doesn’t know how else to respond to their emotions yet.

  • 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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