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Growth and Development, Ages 12 to 24 Months - Promoting Healthy Growth and Development

Sensory and motor skills

Promote your child's sensory and motor skills by:

  • Providing safe opportunities for exploration. Play games that encourage walking and movement, and go outside when possible. For example, help your child walk around the yard with push toys, such as play lawn mowers or bubble poppers. Play chase and race in areas that allow "soft landings."
  • Helping him or her to climb stairs. Keep a secure hold on your child as the two of you go up and down stairs together.
  • Letting him or her feel different textures. Find items that let your child safely explore the concepts of soft, hard, fuzzy, wet, dry, cold, and warm.

Language development

Promote your child's language development by:

  • Talking. Get face-to-face and eye-to-eye with your child as much as possible when interacting. Talk in slow and regular speech about the things your toddler can see, what you are doing together, or those things that are an important part of his or her world.
  • Responding to your child's words. Repeat and expand on what he or she says.
  • Asking your toddler to use words to express meaning. Teach words like "happy," "sad," "angry," "want," "like," and "don't like" so that the child can begin to associate words with feelings and wants.
  • Reading to him or her every day. Also use songs, stories, games, and rhymes to engage your child in language. To help your child's brain develop, play or read together instead of letting your child watch TV, watch movies, or play games on a screen. For more information, see the topic Speech and Language Development.

Learning parenting skills

Because your child is growing and developing so quickly, in many ways you have to "get to know" him or her over and over again. Help create a strong, lasting, and loving relationship with your child by thinking about what you like and don't like about the relationship from time to time. It may help to think about:

  • What do I like most about my child?
  • What new skills has my child developed within the past 3 months? 2 months? 1 month?
  • When am I happy about how I treat my child?
  • What don't I like about some of our interactions? When do these episodes tend to happen?
  • What could be triggering my child's challenging behaviors? Are any of these new triggers?
  • What things can I encourage my child to do for himself or herself? How can I encourage him or her?

As a parent or caregiver of children, it is also important for you to:

  • Learn and use effective parenting and discipline techniques and avoid the use of corporal punishment. Parenting classes are offered in most communities. Ask your doctor or call a local hospital for more information.
  • Learn healthy techniques to resolve conflicts and manage stress. For more information, see the topic Stress Management.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Call a family member or friend to give you a break if you feel overwhelmed. Investigate community resources that are available to help you with child care or other needed services. Call a doctor or local hospital for a place to start. Some communities have respite care facilities for children, which provide temporary child care during times when you need a break.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 19, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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