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Your fourteen-month-old

Getting to grips with spoons, forks and cups

Posted: 2 August 2007
by Maria Muennich

Most babies will be on their feet by now and some will be toddling well. As your baby gets better at walking she might enjoy push or pull toys, many of these change shape or make noises as they roll along.

If your child has been toddling happily for a few weeks she may also show interest in climbing off and on things, like furniture and stairs. Some babies may even be trying to walk up stairs. If your child is trying to tackle stairs then it's a good idea to encourage her to only use stairs when you are with her, just in case, and to always crawl down backwards for the time being.

Communication between you and your child is improving daily. She can probably by now understand many simple sentences and instructions and, if she hasn't already, she'll soon begin pointing to at least some body parts when you ask her where they are - usually the feet, hands and head to start off with. She's most likely added a couple more words to her vocabulary since last month, although they might not all be 'real' words, she may have one or two that only you will understand. Many babies like to imitate their parents by 'chatting' on the phone and may like to make calls with a toy phone, old handset or the tv remote.

Meal times should be getting more interesting now as your baby eats a wide range of foods and can not only help herself to finger foods, but also have a good go with a spoon or baby fork. Be prepared that rubbing food into the table or dropping it onto the floor is at least as interesting as putting it in her mouth at first. But it's well worth encouraging her when she shows interest in feeding herself as it will make life easier for you in the long run, so choose suitably manageable foods, tie on a well-covering bib and try to accept that things will get messy. Your baby will probably enjoy choosing items from her plate, so you can try offering a selection of foods and colours rather than mashing everything together. Feeding herself doesn't, though, mean eating alone, she'll still need you to make sure the food is in toddler-sized pieces and to supervise her mealtimes.

Many babies are now also able to drink from a cup, though there will still be plenty of spills! A small cup, rather than a big tumbler, is easier for practising with and clean stacking cups are ideal.

At play
For months you have cleared up as your baby tips things out of containers and leaves a trail of toys in her wake, but if you're lucky your baby will by now be showing some interest in putting things back. If so, seize your chance to encourage this and let her move things from one container to another, ask her to carry books back to the shelf or turn tidying up into a game. At this stage she might enjoy a posting toy that lets her match shapes to holes.

In the last few weeks your baby may have started to play games with you. She might come and look for you if hide behind the furniture, she may bring you toys or books to enjoy together and you may find you develop all kinds of games of your own. She'll probably not only join in with laughing at jokes or at other things she finds funny, but also do her best to make you laugh by doing or saying things, making noises or even by tickling you. So, you'll want to take care at what you laugh at: while it can be difficult to keep a straight face as your baby sticks her finger up her nose or bites dad's finger, laughing is almost guaranteed to encourage this behaviour.

While most babies will need to sit on your knee to use anything other than a baby swing for a while yet, some of them may be keen to go it alone on the slide, particularly if she has mastered the art of clambering up the steps first. Bear in mind that she could take a nasty tumble if she puts grippy shoes down as she's sliding, or goes off the end of the slide - for now it's still best to be around to catch any accidents.

What you can do
As your baby becomes more mobile and adventurous you'll find yourself saying 'no' ever more frequently, but it's not too early to start explaining that certain things are unsafe for him, or unhelpful for mum and dad - he won't understand most of it, but it will be more interesting for him than a simple 'no'.

You'll need to continually revisit what and where is safe for her as her skills and understanding develop. If you've packed away some gifts that were too old for her earlier on then don't forget to revisit the treasure chest from time to time to see what's suitable for her latest stage.

Your baby learns through play, so it's important that you take her play seriously and support her, taking an interest in her small accomplishments and preoccupations. At the same time you don't want to interfere in everything, she needs some time to practise concentrating on her own and discovering things for herself, so you need to strike a happy balance.

NB: All babies develop at their own pace and some will reach developmental landmarks more quickly than others. This timeline 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

Learning to walk - Toddling around is one of the most significant milestones in your baby's development, read more on what happens when and how you can help

Trouble with an early riser? - How to handle it when baby wakes before it's quite morning

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?

Health and safety

Travel vaccinations for babies - Read up on what you need to know about childrens's travel vaccinations if you're planning on taking your toddler abroad.

Child-proofing your home- If you haven't re-thought your baby-proofing arrangements since baby was on her feet then it's time to take another look around you.

Mum and Dad

Bed sharing at 14 months - My 14 month old daughter is still sleeping with us and I have no idea how to get her into her own cot before her sister arrives in December. Do you have any tips for kg?

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

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