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Baby development: Your nineteen-month-old

Catch me if you can!

Posted: 14 September 2007
by ThinkBaby

Your nineteen-month-old is be continuing to push the boundaries of his physical skills and strength. But while his abilities are growing by the day, his judgement and control aren't, so you'll need to be on hand to show him when something is too high, too fast or just too dangerous. At this age many toddlers like to run around with no obvious goal in sight, this isn't about going from A to B, but just about going: He might career around in circles around the lounge, run up and down the landing or simply run from one room to another. Sometimes this is a serious undertaking and at other times it'll have him chortling away to himself scoots around. More than once he's likely to lose control, misjudge a distance and come to an undignified stop or topple over. There's not all that much you can do about this other than try and provide somewhere in your home where he can burn off his energy like this in relative safety.

Communication / emotional development
By now your toddler may be beginning to use two or even more words in combination. It's common for toddlers to start with mini-phrases using nouns like 'more milk', and then verbs 'Mummy say' and the oh-so-common 'Me do!'.

If your child wants something and can't communicate it, or wants something that you don't want him to have, then whining is a common reaction. If you think that he's frustrated by an inability to communicate then you can try asking him what it is he wants, or asking him if he can show you. This may well be enough to end the whining, but if not then it's worth making the point that he won't get whatever it is he wants while he's continuing to whine. If there's something that you don't want him to have at all, then a little distraction may come in handy. If you do give him what she wants when he's whining then you'll only encourage him to think that whining is the way to get things. Of course, there's a big difference between whining for something he wants and letting you know that there's something he needs, like a drink or a clean nappy.

At play
Some nineteen-month-olds will be ready to kick a ball, rather than just walk into it, and might even enjoy trying to get a ball into a large target such as mini goal posts or an upturned laundry basket. Big bouncy balls can offer hours of amusement, just make sure it's big enough that he can't put it in his mouth or bite a chunk out of it, and supervise bouncy ball play, just in case.

Ride on toys are usually popular at this age and he'll becoming more adventurous with where he gets too. He may still enjoy push- and pull-along toys also.

Posting, stacking, sorting, building, opening and closing will all still be keeping him amused. If he's got one toy down pat then show him a more challenging variation, like stacking cups on top of one another, rather than inside one another. If he's outgrown his posting box he may be ready for a simple big-piece jigsaw puzzle.

He's most likely still fascinated with containers and can spend minutes at a time transferring blocks, sand, water or stones from one place or container to another container and then back. By now he should be able to hold a bucket or tub with one hand and use the other hand to fill it - and maybe even talk at the same time!

What you can do
You probably still won't understand a lot of what your toddler says to you, but listening is very important never-the-less. You obviously can't hang on every 'word', particularly when he's busy chattering away ten to the dozen, but if you pay close attention when he's telling you something you can't at first understand, the combination of his speech and body language - or pointing - may make new words clear to you. Try suggesting words you think he might mean, and he'll probably let you know when you hit on the right one. Being listened closely to will be reassuring to him and spur him on to keep trying, it's also a sure way to make him feel loved. If he's mispronouncing words but it's clear what he's trying to say, then it's more helpful to say 'yes, it's a ...' and then repeat the word correctly for him, rather than saying 'no, it's not that, it's such and such'.

Helping Mummy and Daddy will still be a wonderful game to him, and there is more and more he can do all the time. It will take longer to wash and fold the laundry with him, to sweep the floor or wipe down surfaces, but if you're patient and turn all these things into a game together you create a fun playtime for him at the same time as getting the chores done, so why not? Many kitchen cleaning toys like mops and brushes are designed for the 3 plus age group and may be a bit too pointy for him to use safely, but take a look at your own mop and brush - many have adjustable handles that you can shorten to a suitable length that won't be frustrating or dangerous for him. When you're watering the garden he might like to follow suit with his own little watering can. It goes without saying, of course, that you need to keep him away from any cleaning products (even the 'natural' kind) and buckets of water, and take extra care to guard against him slipping when you're cleaning. If you're wiping down units why not give him his own clean, dry cloth to wipe the fronts of the cupboards or walls with?

NB: All babies develop at their own pace and some will reach developmental landmarks more quickly than others. This time line is meant only as an approximate guide for parents. Premature babies will develop more slowly than full-term babies and can be expected to develop in line with their age calculated from their due date. If you are worried about your child's health or progress consult your doctor.

Developing baby

When to potty train? - When should you start potty training? I thought it was between 18 months and 3 years but a friend's mum was shocked that my 19 month old son was still in nappies?! Chip in with your opnion and advice on potty training.

Childproofing your home - As your baby becomes faster and more agile, it's time to think again about how you can make your home safer for a toddler.

Blogging your baby's development - Keeping a diary of your baby's development is a great idea, on ThinkBaby you can keep an up-to-date online blog that you can email to your nearest or dearest or print out later for yourself, so why not start your own?

Mum and dad

Expcting number two? - If you're pregnant with your next baby you may be wondering how to explain what's in store to your little prince, here are a few pointers on explaining your pregnancy to your other children.

Shift the baby weight- Want to finally shift all that persistent post-baby flabbiness?, check out our tips for getting started.

Get support - You can join in the discussions and share parental experiences and advice with other ThinkBaby members in the baby and toddler forum folders.

Other months of age

Newborn | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19

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toddler, baby, development, communication, talking, climbing, nutrition, nineteen, whining, month

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