At this age, kids remain finicky about food. Again, don't panic. Caloric needs decrease as growth slows down. Continue to offer nutritious meals and snacks and try to keep to a reliable eating schedule. Avoid substituting milk, juice, or junk food for meals. We suggest milk or juice at mealtime with water in between. Also, be sure your child is seated whenever eating to avoid choking. A good rule of thumb is one good meal a day. One day it might be breakfast, one day it might be lunch. Just remember that they will not let themselves die of hunger or thirst! It's just a stage!
Since language is limited, kids often act out their anger by hitting, biting, and throwing temper tantrums. Let your child know there are reasonable consequences for her behavior. For example: If she hits you, tell her "No Hitting" and walk out of the room. Ignoring her after telling her "no" is the consequence here. Try to ignore temper tantrums also. Generally a lack of attention to the "acting out" will extinguish the behavior. Do not get into the habit of saying "No" all of the time. Your child will just start to ignore you. Try to be creative with your responses: "That's Mommy's/Daddy's. We don't play with that." Try to give your child an alternate choice or direction such as "Come On! Let's go match socks!"
Your child is still sleeping in a crib. Most kids are happy there until two years of age. It's time to move her out if she attempts to climb out or has fallen out of the crib. If this happens, you might try:
Putting a side rail down and placing a chair on the side of the crib.
Putting the crib mattress on the floor (only six inches to the ground!). You may need to put a child gate at the door.
Moving your child to a big bed with a safe railing.
If you have stairs, keep a child gate at your child's door, the top of the stairs, or the bottom of the stairs because they may wander out of bed.
It's really too early to start toilet training, but you can take some preliminary steps to help your child start thinking about it. Buy a potty that he can sit down on and still touch the floor with his feet. Encourage your child to dress himself by dressing him in clothes that move easily up and down (elastic waists, etc.).
Also, start talking about "going to the big potty." We have a separate hand out available about potty training. Our best advice here is to wait until your child is ready — the whole process will go much smoother!
Check with your family dentist or a pediatric dentist to determine when she wants to begin seeing your child. Children are usually seen by age 2 - 2 1/2 years.
Your toddler may or may not have a fairly large vocabulary. He is just starting the stage of "verbal explosion." If your child does not have as big a vocabulary as a neighbor or cousin, don't worry, but feel free to discuss this with your doctor at your next well visit. In general, if a child seems to understand and follow directions, you know he can hear — it will just be a matter of time before he starts talking! Expect a verbal explosion between 18 -24 months. In addition, he can identify body parts and imitate animal sounds. He can also understand most directions. As for gross motor skills, your child is walking, running, walking up and down stairs while holding on to the hand of an adult, using a fork and spoon, and helping to dress himself. Learning to dress himself is an important pre-potty training skill. Kids need to be able to maneuver their clothes before they can concentrate on going to the bathroom!