Whole milk has largely replaced breastfeeding or formula by this time, with most children taking 12 to 16 ounces per day. This is an excellent time to wean your child to a cup if you have not already done so. Carrying a bottle around the house can lead to cavities in the front teeth, and is a difficult habit to stop. Having your child eat only in his high chair (for all meals and snacks) encourages him to be a part of the family meal, and avoids "grazing" habits and potential choking situations.
Your child can have most table foods, and will probably wish to feed himself without your help. Fingers will work much better than utensils, although most children can start to use a spoon. Regular table meats are usually not chewed well by toddlers and should be cut into very small pieces (as with all other table foods).
Appetites usually fall off at this age as a child's growth rate slows. The typical toddler eats well at only one or two meals each day (dinner is usually the pickiest) and eats better away from home. Avoid battles at the table. Your responsibility is to provide healthy food choices and praise whatever is eaten. You cannot make your child eat. See our handout "Feeding Your Toddler, Age 1 to 3" if you are interested in more information on age-appropriate serving sizes and choices.
Remember...parents are encouraged to brush their child's teeth daily. This is a good age to introduce the toothbrush, as molars are soon to erupt. Toothpaste is unnecessary, but a small dab may be just the incentive for a resisting toddler.
Many 1 year-olds sleep 10-12 hours each night with 1-2 naps during the day. Your child may cry when placed in the crib for sleeping; be gentle but firm with night and nap routine. See our handout on "Sleep Concerns" if you need some ideas.
Believe it or not, you have already started toilet-training your child. Every time you acknowledge his wet, dry, or messy diaper you are giving information about his body that will be used later when he learns to use the toilet. Remember to choose positive messages. Also, do not be alarmed if you see some undigested food in your child's stool. This is normal when he eats table foods.
You now have a "touch and go" child. He touches everything in sight and then goes on to something new! Recheck all previously child-proofed areas, including the garage and lawn.
Walking and crawling children at this age have more courage and often go down unguarded stairways or fall off furniture; constantly supervise.
Everything goes into the mouth of a one-year old. We suggest that you keep the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222) phone number handy next to all of your home phones and programmed into your cell phone.
Burns happen quickly at this age. Irons, curling rods, lamps, light bulbs, lighted cigarettes, candles and hot liquids are all becoming within reach.
Remember, children should remain facing backward in their carseats until they are at least 20 pounds. And, they're in the back seat until age 12.
Minnesota State Law requires all children under the age of 10 to wear a life-preserver when on any private boat. Find one that fits well.
Avoid the potential for Shaken Baby Syndrome by taking breaks from your child before your temper flares. Call a relative or friend for help, or the Parent Warmline (612-813-6336). Call the Crisis Connection (612-379-6363) or Minneapolis Crisis Nursery (763-591-0100) if you're at the end of your rope.
We would like to see your child again for a routine checkup at age FIFTEEN MONTHS. Talking, walking and social skills pick up by then, as do tantrums! The final PCV7 and HIB vaccines are due at that visit. Please try to be at least 10 minutes early for all scheduled well-child visits.
Every day will bring something new. Watch for it!
Many parents ask when it is appropriate to begin disciplining their children. We probably begin at birth. The definition of the word "discipline" is " to teach socially acceptable behavior." We each have our own set of values that influence the behaviors we encourage or discourage. Additionally, as adults, we carry with us the way we were raised and disciplined by our own parents. Evaluate what you want, and do not want, to bring with you in your parenting. The following are a few basic principles you may want to consider when responding to your child's behavior:
Be positive. One of our main goals in child rearing is to raise happy, competent children. We teach them how to behave correctly, versus telling them what they are doing wrong. Catch your child being good and tell him what to do versus what not to do. For example, "Write on paper only" versus "Don't write on the table."
A good way to get a repeat performance of any behavior is to follow the first one with attention (positive or negative). Keep this in mind when you want your child to play nicely with toys, or when you want him to stop digging in the plants. Attention comes in many forms; eye contact, talking, and touch are the strongest.
Know you limits. Take some time to decide how you want to handle a situation. It will be much easier to act appropriately when you know what you want to accomplish. Remember that a child's behavior turns to misbehavior when it goes beyond your limit.
Set those limits clearly, and they are much more likely to be followed. All people have their own limits that are important, and others that are not as important. Consistency in parenting (and with all caregivers) greatly improves the chances that children will behave. And remember — the number one way children learn is by imitation.
Be specific. Children need to know exactly what you expect of them. For example, "Please keep your feet still" is more direct and effective that "Stop wiggling around."
Preserve your child's self-esteem while correcting behavior. Refrain from labeling or other demeaning comments. For example, "Swearing is not allowed in this house" directs the discipline at the behavior, while "You are a bad boy for swearing" directs the negativity at the child.
Whenever safely possible, allow your child to learn by experience. For example, having a child touch something warm (with supervision) is more valuable in teaching the concept of "hot" than 20 reminders from the parent.
Act quickly in your discipline. Giving a child too many chances, reminders or warnings suggests that you do not really mean what you say. Children quickly learn how many chances their parents will give. State your limit once, then calmly and appropriately do something.
Stop negative behavior immediately and avoid verbal arguments. The longer a conflict persists between a parent and a child, the more out of control both become. Parents are good at having tantrums, too! When a child is arguing with you, he is in control. Set your limit, then refuse to argue about it. Walk away.
Follow through on everything you say. If you say no, mean no. When a child can repeatedly get you to change your mind by having a tantrum, by screaming, begging, being defiant, or by being suddenly sweet-and-cuddly, he learns that "no" means "maybe." He also learns that he had great power over you which will be quite confusing to him.
Spanking invites revenge. Whenever a child is hit, slapped, or spanked, discipline becomes punishment and usually the child's attention is diverted from his behavior to his pain and anger. He may totally forget that he just used his crayon to draw on the wall; he just gets angry that you hit him and his hand hurts. Again, children learn best by imitation. What do you want your child to imitate?
Let your child know when he may get another chance. This reinforces trust, teaches forgiveness, and gives kids hope for better days. For example, "I'm setting aside your crayons for today; you can try using them correctly tomorrow."
Do not be afraid to encourage the best in other children. You are not meddling by setting your own personal limits with other people's children. For example, if you expect good manners from your children, it is reasonable to expect them from other children when they are around you. Your children will notice this, and will see that your standards are consistent.
Above all, remember that both you and your children are human and not perfect. We all make mistakes. Acknowledge this, be patient with yourself, and apologize to your child if you feel you have made a mistake. We are all grateful that children are young and forgiving! Enjoy your growth together.