The second year of your baby's life will bring more independence for him. This may be a bittersweet experience for you. While you will rejoice in each new developmental stage that he accomplishes, you'll also look back wistfully at a time when he was totally dependent upon you. Still, your child is learning and growing every day. You can experience almost the same wonder that he does as you share each new discovery with your child.
Months Twelve Through Fifteen
Once your child has reached his first birthday, he may be walking quite easily without your help. Don't worry if he hasn't mastered walking quite yet. Every baby develops at a different rate; just because your baby still prefers to crawl to his preferred destinations doesn't mean he is developmentally delayed. In the next couple of months, he will quickly catch up.
You may have noticed that your child seems attached to your leg whenever he is around different people other than his immediate family, as noted by WebMD. He is learning about the world around him but you are his safety net. As he grows and matures, he will learn to venture farther away from you. Until then, do your best to reassure him that you are right by his side. If he does show distress and anxiety when you have to leave him, try to be as positive and upbeat about your departure as you are about your return. He doesn't understand the concept of time yet but he'll soon realize that you will be back.
Twelve to fifteen month olds love to play with smaller toys in the shape of animals, people, and automobiles. Be sure you provide plenty of toys for your little one to play with but make sure they are age appropriate. At this age, your baby may want to place everything in her mouth, so watch out for choking hazards. You should continue to read to your child and encourage a love for books.
Your pediatrician has probably told you that your child can now drink whole milk instead of formula or breast milk. BabyZone.com stresses the importance of baby eating plenty of fruits and vegetables with some meat each day. Help him learn to feed himself by giving him bite-sized pieces of food.
Months Sixteen Through Eighteen
By the time your baby reaches this age, you may begin to recognize several words among her various babblings. While she may have been saying "mama" and "dada" for several months, she is now able to relate words to other objects; she will also try to pronounce many of those objects. You will be able to decipher some of her words, and you may have to serve as an interpreter for others.
You can encourage her language development by pointing to various objects and repeating the names of those objects to her. You can also help her learn body parts by pointing and naming those. Some babies are even able to put together two and three word sentences. Keep reading and singing to your child every day.
Your baby is now considered a toddler. He will want to explore his world, and he may protest loudly when you interfere with his exploration. Of course, you'll have to set limits, and you may find yourself using the word "no" quite often during the day. Although this will be unavoidable at times, try to find ways to focus your child's attention away from the wanted area or item. You can also begin offering simple choices to your baby to give him a sense of independence.
Months Nineteen Through Twenty-four
As your child is fast approaching her two-year-old birthday, you'll wonder where in the world the time has gone. How has she grown from a helpless infant to an ever-increasingly independent toddler so quickly?
As she gets closer to the end of her second year, her motor skills will have developed significantly. She can now run across the yard or hop in place. She can maneuver stairs without too much effort, and you may find yourself constantly running to catch up with her.
Along with her agile physical development, she will definitely begin to exert her independence in a stronger more vocal manner. Instead of you being the one to say "no", you may discover that your baby enjoys saying it to you quite often. She will become more adept at telling you "no" as she enters into her third year of life, so remain firm when you set limits for her. Now is the time to let her know that you are the one who will make the majority of the decisions for her. You may need an extra dose of patience on some days, but be sure you mix in plenty of hugs and kisses, too.
Your baby's language skills are also developing quickly, and she will revel in each new word that she learns. You should remember that she is watching everything that you do and listening to everything that you say. Continue to read and sing with her, take her to new places, and give her plenty of opportunity to experience new things.
The first two years of your baby's life will pass quickly. You'll be there to wipe his tears, laugh at his funny faces, and cheer him on with each new developmental stage he has accomplished -- just as you'll continue to do throughout his life.