At this age, everything is a game of "toddler-see, toddler-do." You make a funny face, and you'll see it reflected right back at you on your child's face.
The same is also true for what comes out of your mouth. Toddlers may repeat anything you say.
A toddler's natural urge to mimic can be a good thing. Repeat a few new words to him each day, and he'll pick them up right away.
But copycatting can also backfire. Stub your toe and yell, "S%$t!" and you're bound to hear the word pop out of your child's mouth at some point.
Be careful not only about what you say but also about what your friends say in front of your child. Filter TV shows, radio shows, and music your child is exposed to, even if it's just playing in the background. If it's within earshot, it's fair game for your child's ears.
Your Toddler's Development This Month
Each toddler is a unique little person. They don't act the same -- or look the same -- as any other child their age.
Your child also grows at a different pace than his peers. He may tower over all of his friends or lag a little behind them in height. Your child's growth chart -- kept up by your pediatrician -- keeps track of all that.
You're probably very familiar with growth charts by now. Here's a reminder of what they're used for:
- Measuring your child's height, weight, and head circumference
- Comparing his weight and height with the measurements of other kids his age
- Tracking his height and weight as a percentile; if his weight is in the 50th percentile, it means 50% of kids his age weigh more than him, and 50% weigh less.
- Helping your doctor track your child's growth over time, to look for any sudden spurts or lags
Month 23 Tips
- Did your toddler say something you don't approve of? Don't act shocked or make a big fuss. Ignoring it may help make it stop, because it doesn't get attention.
- When it comes to food, go for healthy fare: grilled chicken instead of fried, fruit instead of French fries, and never soda. You can't force him to eat what you serve, but don't succumb to giving him junk just so he eats. Be a good role model with this, too.
- When a toddler has an earache, he may let you know by pulling on his ear and being more irritable than usual. See the doctor -- if it's an infection, he may need an antibiotic.
- Your child is due for her next checkup next month, at her 2nd birthday. Bring a list of questions to ask the pediatrician about her growth, development, and behavior.
- Is your toddler a budding artist? Encourage her creativity by giving her crayons, sculpting dough, and washable paints to make her masterpieces.
- If you do take your toddler for a swim in the pool, put a waterproof diaper on her and change it promptly afterwards. Don't forget sunscreen.
- Check in with your significant other while your child sleeps. Talk over your concerns -- and your joys. You're in this together. Single? Take the same time to call a friend.