Most children need 12-16 ounces of whole milk a day. This is an excellent time to completely wean your child to a cup if you have not already done so. Bottle habits can lead to cavities in the front teeth and, depending on what's in it, decreased mealtime appetite. Having your child eat only in his high chair (for all meals and snacks) encourages him to be a part of the family, and avoids "grazing" and potential choking situations.
Your child can be offered almost everything you make for yourself (with the exception of choking foods, such as raw vegetables, nuts, whole grapes, popcorn, hotdogs, etc.), and will probably want to feed himself. Fingers still work the best, but most children can start using a spoon and fork. Continue to cut meats very small.
Mealtime is usually not a toddler's shiniest moment! 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. Since you cannot make your child eat, provide healthy food choices and praise whatever is eaten. This way you both win. If your child seems disinterested or finished, casually remove his food (and perhaps him) from the table, and inform him with your actions that the next meal or snack will come as usual (not necessarily when he decides it should be!) See our handout "Feeding Your Toddler, Age 1 to 3" if you are interested in more information.
Parents are the main toothbrushers until school age, with children helping as much as they want. A toothbrush is recommended as soon as the first molars erupt. You do not need toothpaste, but a small dab may be just the incentive for a resistant toddler.
Most toddlers sleep 10-12 hours each night and take one nap during the day. Your child may cry when put down for sleep, as he dislikes being separated from you (this is another attachment age). Be gentle, but firm, with your sleep routine. Stay with the crib as long as you are able, but transition to the bed if your child climbs out.
Believe it or not, toilet-training has begun! Every time you acknowledge your child's 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 a small piece of undigested food in your child's stool. This is normal when he eats a variety of table foods.
You now have a "touch and go" child. He touches everything in sight and then goes on to something new! Protection is essential for his sake. Recheck all previously child-proofed areas, including the garage and lawn.
Walking children have more courage and often go down unguarded stairways or fall on toys and furniture; use utmost care and constant supervision.
Toddlers still test objects by putting them in their mouths. 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. Irons, curling rods, lamps, cigarettes, candles and hot liquids are all within reach of a curious, walking child.
Remember, Minnesota State Law requires all children under age 10 to wear a life-preserver when on any private boat. Find one that fits well.
Toddlers are wonderful, but can be frustrating. 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). If you're at the end of your rope, call the Crisis Connection (612-379-6363) or Minneapolis Crisis Nursery (763-591-0100); they can help you get a break.
We would like to see your child again for a routine checkup at age EIGHTEEN MONTHS. The daily thrills (and challenges!) of your child learning to talk, run, throw, identify objects, and imitate your every move are ahead. Your child's DTaP and Hepatitis A booster vaccines are recommended at that visit. Please try to be at least 10 minutes early for all scheduled well-child visits.
We all wonder where they get their energy!