You have probably become busier with your toddler running around and exploring his surroundings which keeps you on your toes all the time. Let us take you through this wonderful journey and prepare you for what to expect from your 16-month-old baby.
16-month-old Toddler Development
Watching your baby transform into a toddler is an extremely captivating process. Let us look at some of the 16-month-old baby milestones that your toddler may start achieving or has already achieved.
1. Physical Development
Now that your baby is in the 16-month bracket, your doctor will only check his development every 2 months. You will notice that your baby’s development is not as rapid as it was in his first year. The weight of each toddler varies individually. Ideally, your 16-month-old baby weight should be anything between 8.5 kg – 12.9 kg.
- You will notice that he likes to challenge his physical limits. He knows he can walk confidently, and so, he wants to carry a load like a block box while he is busy making it. He may also try pushing a chair inside the kitchen, and try to get up on it to explore the countertop. Try cooking on the back burners and keep the handles of the pans inward. A kitchen is a dangerous place, so it is advisable to keep a watchful eye on your 16-month-old at all times.
- At this time, your toddler’s fine-motor skill learning is at its best. He will try to put his fine motor skills to use into everything. With his tiny fingers, he would try to open up and explore drawers and cabinets to see how they open, and what is stored in them for him to explore. If you have not already child-proofed your house, now is the time you should consider doing it. Install drawer and cabinet lockers. Remember to keep all harmful chemicals and medicine away from your child’s reach.
- Babies are more adept at using their hands and little fingers at 16 months. Give them a box of crayons and a piece of paper and see them at their creative best. They tend to make everything around them a canvas, so in case your walls are witness to your toddler’s creativity, make sure your toddler uses crayons that are not permanent in nature, and whose marks can be washed away.
2. Social and Emotional Development
- Your toddler will try to see you as an extension of himself. He will rely more on you to get him things that he wants but cannot get. He may want that toy kept high on the cupboard, and since he is physically unable to get it, he may tug at you to bring it down for him. Avoid helping him much, and soon you will see that he will find ways to succeed by himself. Allow him to cry and get his frustration out because that is how he will learn.
- At 16 months, your toddler will try to understand whether he is getting praised for his good behaviour and reprimanded for his bad behaviour. He will also understand what behaviours are wrong for you but bring a smile on his older brother or sister’s face. He may play along with that in the future to get a reaction out of you. It can be as silly as banging a toy on the coffee table or pulling the tail of your pet.
- A 16-month-old considers himself to be independent and enjoys taking control of situations. You can play along with him in his play kitchen and ask him to cook a delicious meal for you. That way, he will be encouraged to discover and feel a sense of pride and joy in himself.
3. Cognitive and Language Development
- Children become independent on their own, and we just need to assist them. You will learn this soon with your 16-month-old toddler. Once he starts talking, he will soon realise that he can be his own person. He will probably be able to speak only a few words and rely mostly on non-verbal communication, but he will certainly understand more than he can communicate.
- As your toddler starts speaking his first words, he will find it challenging to coordinate his lips, tongue and breath all at once to make himself understandable, Try talking slowly to him and in short sentences so that he can understand and comprehend.
At 16 months, your toddler may show some signs of challenges which could also include pushing his boundary behaviours. He might throw tantrums or show signs of separation anxiety. Some might display weird behaviours. Temper tantrums can happen to even the best-behaved child. It is usually at its peak when the child is 2 years old. Children love to have their way, and challenges can easily upset them. Tantrums are easy to handle if you know the triggers.
Most children have a meltdown at the toy aisle in the supermarket. Avoiding that can help your toddler avoid temper tantrums. Look out for signs of hunger and sleepiness in your little one. Often, these are the hidden reasons for a power struggle. Giving them a time-out to help calm down goes a long way in managing their temper tantrums and helps them control their emotions in a better way.
Food and Nutrition
You will find your 16-month-old incline towards a diet similar to that of your own. Usually, food preferences get set early in their life, so it is very important to guide them to develop a taste and preference for healthy food. Toddlers have tiny tummies. So frequent meals are better than 3 or 4 major meals a day. Make sure you include food items that give him the daily dose of nutrients required for growth and avoid sweets, sugary food, and empty calories. You will find your little explorer trying to self-feed using his hands and other utensils. Give him space to practice these skills, but lend a helping hand when he tends to get frustrated. As he gradually develops the skills, take a step back and watch him enjoy his new found independence. Patience is the key to help your child make a healthy choice.
When you sit as a family at the dining table, give your child some independence in choosing his food. Expose him to food options and let him make his own choice. He might like the new food or may not touch it at all. It takes almost 20 – 30 introductions to new foods for a child to develop a liking for it. Always introduce only one new food at a time. It will help you to know if your toddler is allergic to something or not. It is best to avoid foods that pose a choking hazard like popcorn, grapes, hard candy, nuts and raisins. Always supervise your child at meal times.
You will find out soon that your toddler requires a lesser amount of sleep during the day. He may give up on his morning and afternoon naps and settle for a mid-day nap only. At first, the nap times in the mid-day may be a little longer as he gradually adjusts to his new routine. Try to avoid putting him to bed late in the afternoons as that will make it difficult for him to fall asleep at night. Kids prefer to have the same routine every day, so try putting him to bed at the same time consistently. Encourage him to use his cot to sleep rather than lying down on the sofa. With so many things to explore, your toddler will surely become tired, but still, he might refuse to go to bed as he will be full of energy and enthusiasm. You need to be firm so that he gets to complete his sleep before he sets off for another adventure. It would be wise to keep some books and toys in his room to keep him company and allow him to fall asleep comfortably.
Play and Activities
Sometimes, it just takes us to take a step back and let our kids discover themselves fuelling their growth. Your toddler will be ever charged up to experiment and try his hands at new ideas. Allow him the space to do that you will actually help him entertain himself, and explore his creative streak. While he plays, he will learn to solve problems and also motor play. At this age, your 16-month-old will like to do his things independently. Help him in his way to learn things. You can probably keep his socks in a drawer that he can access or probably place his shoes in a plastic organiser near the front door for him to access and wear them on his own when he is going out.
You can plan age-appropriate activities for him, like carrying his own plate and putting it in the sink. Do not expect perfection and be affectionate towards him if he falters. That way you will allow him more space to explore his surroundings and be independent. Read a book to your toddler. Reading aids in promoting listening skills; it also increases language development and assists in developing attention span and memory. When you read a book to your toddler, you are increasing your bonding time with him, and also helping him instil a love of reading.
Tips for Parents
Your toddler is probably eager to explore his space. You may find him in a constant and steady state of motion. Here are some tips that can help you manage your 16-month-old better:
- Never let him wander off your sight at any time. Toddlers do not have a sense of understanding about what might hurt them and what is harmful to them.
- Colds and stomach problems are very common in toddlers. Maintain proper hygiene of washing his hands before he eats. That way a lot of infections can be avoided.
- Maintain good dental hygiene. Brush their teeth twice a day.
- Let them use the crib even though they seem to be ready for the bed. It will keep the more active ones away from harm’s way.
- Child-proof your house.
Consult a Doctor If
Every child is unique, and not all of them will achieve their milestones at the same time. You should consult a doctor when you feel that your baby is falling short of achieving his milestones by a few months.
It is not easy being a parent to a 16-month-old toddler who keeps you running around him. But in the end, it is well worth it.