21 months old
It’s not just your baby’s mind that’s expanding as she grows - her body is growing every day, too. Growth in the second year is slower than the mad dash of the first year, but it’s still steady. If your tot still sleeps in her crib, it’s important to keep an eye on her as she gets taller - once she is able to climb out of her crib when she gets antsy, the crib isn’t a safe place for her to sleep anymore.
As she grows, she is going to keep learning through active, engaged play. Active play helps her exercise and strengthen her growing body, as well as giving her the chance to explore the world around her. your baby understands the world around her better than she used to, but she still learns best when she can not just see things, but also touch them, sometimes taste them, and every once in awhile, throw them against a wall, just to see what happens.
It’s important to keep learning through active play in mind, because as your baby gets closer and closer to her second birthday, she is also getting closer to the point when the American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends completely limiting screen time. As that time approaches, if you do start letting your little one spend a little time watching TV or playing games on a computer, phone, or tablet, it’s important to start by setting your own limits with her. Toddlers are years away from developing any serious self-control of their own, so your baby is depending on you to do it for her - even if she doesn’t know it yet, and pushes back against the limits you set.
Toddlers are still developing the ability to learn even from educational shows and games, so the things your baby learns about the world are going to come from the time she spends playing, so the more time she spends with a phone, tablet, or TV screen, the more time she should be spending in active play or free play. Free play may not seem like a learning experience on the surface, but it’s a crucial part of the way your baby gets to know the world. She is a curious kid, and at this age, her own curiosity is one of the best teachers she could have.
- Identity words: your baby isn’t just learning how to say words - she’s also learning how to use them. Around this time, she might be starting to learn how to use identity words like “I,” “you,” and “me.” If she is, this means that she’s getting sharper not just when it comes to the finer points of grammar, but also in terms of her own identity, distinct from yours.
- Climb furniture: The idea of your toddler climbing furniture can sound scary - and can be scary! But it’s an important skill. For most people, it’s easy to take the ability to climb onto the couch and make themselves comfy for granted, but for toddlers, it can be a difficult task to learn to master.
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