18 Month Check-Up

13 Jan
Time flies when you’re having fun, and you are already halfway through your second year with your little one(s)!  Hopefully, you don’t have one of those kiddos that have the “terrible 18 months”, but it does happen occasionally before the expected “terrible twos”.  If you do, time might not be flying so much.
Usually 18 month olds have a pretty defined palate of what they like to eat and things they could do without but that doesn’t mean you should stop offering new foods.  It takes about 7 trials of a new food for a child to develop a taste for so if at first you don’t succeed, try and try and try and try (…you get the picture) again.
What should your baby (How long do I get to call them baby?) be doing right now?
Generally, they are running in circles around the house.  They are able to change directions fairly well with toppling over but their gait is still a little bit unsteady.  Bowed legs or knock knees are relatively common at this age.  They are very rarely bad enough to need any intervention, but if you have questions, be sure and ask your doctor about it.
We never really did this much but most babies at this age have the fine motor skills to pick up a crayon and scribble on a piece of paper.  What they produce won’t be Picasso (at least not to anyone but you) but is a fun activity for them.
We are looking for an 18 month old to say about 8-10 words and understand much more.  Most can take a one step simple command and complete it (Such as, “Can you please bring me your shoe?”).  How do you encourage speech development?  Try hard to encourage speech.  Many parents at this age are proficient in toddler pointing and grunting but don’t let your child get away with that all the time.  A useful phrase is, “Now what did you mean?” or “What did you want?”
Give them opportunities to respond to requests.  Ask them to do simple “chores” so that they can get used to hearing language and responding with an action.  “Can you bring me your plate?” or “Can you throw this in the trash?”.
Motor development can really take off if you can allow your child to explore at this age.  Let them try to climb on small items and run around like crazy in the grass even if you know they will fall down.  You’ll be there to kiss whatever ails them (great bonding) and having them try will help them to develop new skills along the way.
We take our longest break ever after this checkup so be sure and bring your list of questions to this checkup and get everything answered. It’s ok if that list is long; it’s got to last you six whole months. Next stop… 2 years!

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