Age: 12-18 months

Baby is 15 months – walking & talking – what we can say and do

How many words can a 15 month old say? Here's a list of ours and walking progress! baby-brain.co.uk

Look at my cool yellow hat

The baby (or is it toddler now?) is 15 months! He’s been talking more and is now walking fully – when I say fully, i mean he’s walking everywhere and not resorting to any crawling. However, his walking is still a bit robotic and jerky, cowboy-esque.

 

Here’s some words I’ve noticed he can say, appropriately and in context, although not all of them are clear:

  • thank you (clear; one of his first words)
  • daddy (very clear)
  • pea (very clear; he likes peas)
  • sock(s) (clear)
  • banana (but not very clearly)
  • attempts to say “open” but not clear at all
  • down (clear; put me down – is confusing up and down though, mainly just says “down” for wanting both to be picked up and put down)
  • sit down (clear; he likes to sit on the sofa)
  • wow (very clear)
  • wee wee (very clear; and will go sit on the potty – has probably been influenced by his brother’s potty training, also see here and here for more on potty training)
  • poo (clear)
  • apple (clear; one of his first words)
  • Sarah duck (kind of clear; a kid’s cartoon he and his brother like to watch about a girl called Sarah and her friend, a duck)
  • ball (not very clear)
  • twinkle twinkle (and can sing more of the song including up above the world so high, not very clear)
  • round (kind of clear – relates to wheels on the bus song)

 

Next development step with talking: putting two words together!! (not including wee wee)…

 

We are 18 months old! Child development and update at 18 months

Typical baby/toddler development at 18-24 monthsWe are one and a half years old! Time has gone quickly; it doesn’t seem like that long ago I was planning his little first birthday get together.

 

What have we noticed? Well in the last few weeks he’s:
  • Been using more than one word at a time and
  • Making small sentences.
For example, he might say “off the bus”, or “kiss owl” (kiss his toy owl).
  • He can also repeat short sentences and strings of 2 or 3 words that I say to him, although I don’t know how much he understands as it’s only repetition and not generated by himself in context. But, that said, this seems different because recently he’d only say one word at a time.

 

Typical developments at 18-24 months:

This timeline of typical development from birth to five years old from the NHS outlines skills and milestones at different ages. There’s also a link to an article from the Zero to Three website on their page here on child development at 18-24 months, what your toddler can do and how to support emerging skills.

 

 

child development at 18-24 months: toddlers start to learn ball skillsAccording to the NHS:
  • Apparently it’s typical at 1.5-2 years old for children to start to put at least 2 words together.
  • At this age toddlers will also learn to kick or throw a ball.
That’s great because we’ve signed up for football classes and have been going for a few months. Initially he wasn’t kicking the ball but was picking it up and putting it in the goal (at least he understood the concept). But more recently he has been able to kick the ball, plus we’ve been out with the ball at the weekends too, which I think has helped because of the added practice of those motor and coordinator skills.
  • From 1.5 to 4 years children start to develop bladder control
We bought a potty but haven’t started any potty training yet. For a month or even two now he’s been able to tell us when he’s done a poo which I assume means that he is more aware of his bodily functions and can communicate that. My plan is to buy a story book about using a potty to start to introduce the concept to him. I don’t know if he can tell us in advance yet that he needs to do a poo. We haven’t discussed that with him but I suppose I could start talking with him about “tell me if you need to do a poo”, or something, and reinforcing or rewarding if he says something.
Zero to Three write that
  • at 18-24 months toddlers are starting to use their imagination, e.g. feeding a toy pretend food, making car noises when playing with cars
I’ve definiately noticed this. The Little Lovely has “fed” his milk to some of his toys before. Not sure we’ve heard car noises though. Extend on these skills by pretend and imaginative play!

 

I will drop this banana. Child development and update at 18 months

I will drop this piece of banana on the floor! For no apparent reason!

I’ve noticed increased “obstinate” behaviour!! 

OK, not a fair way of putting it, but what I mean is that when I ask LL not to do something, he pauses and does it anyway, like “drop” his food on the floor (he throws it sometimes, but then looks up and says “dropped”), or touch on the television screen. I repeatedly ask him not to do it and issue a consequence like turning the television off (*gasp*, yes, we watch some television) and asking him to pick up the food off the floor and put it in the bin (which he does). But he still repeats the same behaviour.
  • Apparently at this young age he might understand what i’m saying, but not have the self control to do much about it (according to the Zero to Three handout on 18-24 month old development). And this is a skill that can take some time to develop. I guess I’ll have to remain consistent, firm, and give clear instruction and consequence anyway.

 

For other areas of development at 18-24 months (and from prenatal to 36 months old) see this brilliant “baby brain map”, (zero to three) that outlines different areas that are developing in the brain (e.g. social and emotional) at this time.

 

 

 

Monster “feed me” bottle lids slot game, for baby and toddler

Monster Feeder slot game - fine motor skill development - fun DIY baby/toddler activity, from baby-brain.co.uk

This is a Monster “feed me” slot game, using bottle tops and an old plastic food pot

Another DIY, “junk” toy we made and had fun with!

 

  • Great for imagination

  • Curiosity

  • Developing fine motor skills with baby and toddlers

 

Monster "feed me" lids game - fine motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity! from baby-brain.co.uk

Take one old plastic container…

What I used:

  • An old plastic container with a lid (old raisin pot)

  • Masking tape

  • Colour pens and stickers for decoration

  • Lids from old milk jugs and other plastic bottles

 

1) Take plastic container

 

2) Cut a slot in the top

 

3) I covered the edges of the slot with masking tape to ensure any sharp edges were covered up. The tape also made it easier to draw a mouth on

 

4) I cut up some old stickers to use as eyes (or use any baby-safe decoration/feature you like)

Monster "feed me" lids game - fine motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity! from baby-brain.co.uk

Using stickers to add details

 

5) No picture for this but I coloured in some details on the eyes and drew teeth around the slot. I was going to do scary eyes and sharp pointy teeth but then decided maybe that was a bit too scary so toned it down a bit

 

6) Et voilà! He is done – a “monster” lid eater. I decided not to decorate the rest of the pot but I might put some coloured card around the edge, draw some hands on, stick feet on etc in the future

Monster "feed me" lids game - fine motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity! from baby-brain.co.uk

Food to feed your Monster with - lids game - motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity!

Food stickers – to feed your little monster with

 

Food to feed your Monster with - lids game - motor skill development - fun baby/toddler activity!

Food to feed your Monster with – lids game – motor skill development – fun baby/toddler activity!

What to feed your Monster with:

We later added some food stickers to the bottle lids. We stuck them on together (aged 20 months when we did this) and talked about the foods. I used different coloured tops and mostly matched these to the food colours. Here’s some pictures of the “food” we fed the monster with.  Some of the stickers had to be updated after the toddler decided one day peel most of them off!

 

Monster feeder in action!

Here’s some pictures of my Little Lovely playing with the Monster Pot. He was 17 months here but he’s enjoyed slotting and sorting things for several months now and has had the motor skills to do it, so this activity might be suitable for babies and toddlers younger and older than this. We don’t know colours yet (we’re starting to learn) but we could extend the game in the future by asking baby to post certain colour lids.

 

Monster Feeder slot game for babies toddlers - great for fine motor skill development, imagination, arts & crafts, and fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

Practising that slotting!

 

 

Monster Feeder slot game for babies toddlers - great for fine motor skill development, imagination, arts & crafts, and fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

More fun with the game

 

Experimenting with what else he can do with the pot: what’s inside, what does it taste like and, can I wear it as a hat?

 

Monster Feeder slot game for babies toddlers - great for fine motor skill development, imagination, arts & crafts, and fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

Exploring the game further – what’s inside, tasting and hat wearing

 

 

Safety first: This activity was supervised. Please be mindful of sharp edges, choking risks with small parts and materials used to decorate the pot. Please decide based on your own baby and stage of development as to what might be appropriate for them.

 

 

Baby talk – helping infants and children with speech

How to help speech and communication develop with babies and infants. baby-brain.co.uk

Hello?

16.5 months – we are copying a lot more words. Yesterday he learnt to say “cheese”, and “ring”. He can copy quite a few words now and use them appropriately. For example, today he went to the fridge, found the cheese and asked for cheese.

He doesn’t always pronounce everything “right” though. I’ve also noticed him trying to “talk” by saying nonsense words, with the odd real word in there like “bus”, usually relating to something we’ve just been playing with or is in front of him (e.g. toy bus).

 

What should I expect of baby talk?

 

 

Verbal communication and all those other related skills (non-verbal, facial expression, gesture, words, etc) are SKILLS. Babies and infants need to understand communication and words before they can learn to use these skills themselves. How can you teach and build these vital skills with infants? The site above writes:

You can help your child learn by holding them close, making eye contact and talking to them as soon as they’re born.

They will look back at you and very soon begin to understand how conversations work.

Even making ‘baby noises’ will teach your baby useful lessons about listening, the importance of words and taking turns in a conversation.

When baby gets a bit older and starts to notice and take interest in their surroundings:

Start naming and pointing at things that you can both see (‘Look, a cat!’). This will help your baby learn words and, in time, they’ll start to copy you.”

 

Putting words together: 

We haven’t started this yet, but apparently it doesn’t happen until around age 2, when toddler can say around 100 words.

 

Other baby talk tips:

  • From day one – asking questions such as, “are you hungry?” or “would you like some milk?”

  • When you’re out with baby or around the house – pointing out objects and saying things such as “look, there’s a dog!”

  • If baby can partly say a word, e.g. “poon” (spoon), then repeat the word in it’s correct form – “yes, spoon”, rather than copy baby so that they can hear the full pronunciation

  • Give baby choices and questions to increase their vocabulary such as “would you like a strawberry yoghurt or an apple”

 

Concerns about your child’s speech?

This website, Talking Point, has a lot of information about children’s communication, broken down into ages and stages from 0 to 17 years old, such as this page here about development at 12-18 months.

They also have “progress checkers“, such as the one here for 12 month olds, and one for 18 months old (other ages available), that asks a series of questions about what baby can do.

 

  • For the progress checker please note they write that: “This Progress Checker has been written by speech and language therapists, based on typical developmental milestones – It is intended to be used as a guide only. No diagnosis can be made as children are not seen face to face – It is possible that concerns may be highlighted when there are not issues with children’s speech and language. If in doubt, check with a health visitor or speech and language therapist – If your child has just had a birthday, you might want to look at the age-group younger than them. Similarly, if your child is coming up to a birthday, you might want to check the age-group older than them.

 

So enjoy a nice little chat!

Baby Friendly London – The London Aquarium

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities and days out reviewed! from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Sightseeing in London with baby, toddler, kids in tow, or just looking for a fun family day out?

 

The London Aquarium is a reasonably baby-friendly place to visit

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

View of the London Aquarium from across Westminster bridge (river Thames)

The London Aquarium (website)

County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB

  • **Children under 3 years old go FREE*** (according to their website at the time of writing this – but check before you go for updated information)
  • Nearest stations: London Waterloo and Westminster tube (**step free access at Westminster station** – meaning you can use the lifts to get your buggy up from the train to street level, no need to take steps or escalators).
  • Nearby attractions: London SouthbankThe London Eye (next door), The London Dungeon (next door), the river Thames (opposite), Westminster, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey (where WIlls and Kate got married)… and more (you are basically in the centre of a lot of interesting London sights).

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

See the penguins!

What is there to do?

See a range of sea life including the walk-through tunnel with sea life swimming over your head, the large shark tank, stingrays, turtles, jungle themed tanks including a crocodile, and the “Antarctic Ice Adventure” (this includes penguins but I personally wouldn’t call it a giant “adventure” – it’s ice themed and then there is one penguin area, behind glass, which is cool but the space is limited and when we visited there were quite a few people trying to get a look at the penguins).
There is a small area with an assistant where you can look at and touch some non-threatening sea-life. Otherwise, you’re asked not to touch the fish or use flash photography.
There is also a lot about sea life conservation and protecting the seas.

 

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

What to eat?

Food

We visited as part of a group nursery trip so we were able to use a small group dining room that including little chairs and tables for the children. I don’t know if this is freely available. There were a few snack machines as we went around the aquarium.
  • Outside the acquarium there are many food options. Just next door as you exit the gift shop, without having to go outside the building, there is a McDonalds.
  • If you just pop outside there is a fish and chips place inside “county hall” which I think houses other eating options including – for more information on eating options see this page from trip advisor on local cafes and restaurants.
  • There are also food and drink kiosks outside near the London Eye and by the river Thames with some seating, so you could get a drink and snack and look out at the sights.
I personally went round the corner and had a nice hot chocolate from the Starbucks whilst my Little Lovely slept after his day of running around the aquarium shouting FISH all the time (aged 16 months).

 

Baby and Toddler facilities

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Watching fish

There are changing facilities and toilets dotted around the route inside the aquarium. I didn’t see any specific bottle warming equipment or breastfeeding areas but there are areas you can sit, for example by some of the large display tanks, if you wanted to feed there.

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Aquarium. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities, from Baby-Brain.co.uk

Fish!

Accessibility for prams and those less able to use stairs

There were no steps at the main entrance. If you enter from Waterloo bridge there are steps down to the aquarium, London Eye and general riverside walkway area, but there is a step free entrance if you walk around back and come out facing the London Eye. Walk to the left past the Eye and you will be at the aquarium.
There are lifts to all areas inside the aquarium.  I didn’t have to take any stairs with my pram. Most of it seemed to be on one level but I remember at least one lift that replaces one short flight of stairs, and then a lift at the end up to the gift shop.
There were about 3 small steps as I left the building (going past McDonalds), but maybe there is a step free exit point if you ask staff. I bumped the buggy down the 3 or so steps.

 

Baby Friendly London. The London Eye, River Thames. Navigating London with babies and toddlers, fun activities and days out reviewed! from Baby-Brain.co.uk

The London Eye is just “next door” to the Aquarium

 

 

better motor skills – updates at 16 months old

We are nearly 16 months old.

Motor skills and developments at 16 months. Baby-Brain.co.uk

Spoons

What have we noticed? Well in the last few days it seems like his motor skills and abilities have really improved. Maybe they actually levelled up a while ago, but I didn’t notice. I’ve noticed increased spoon related abilities in particular. He was never so great at getting food on the spoon in the past; he could direct the food into his mouth ok if you put some on the spoon for him, but he wasn’t able to scoop much up independently. He more kind of just poked the spoon into the food or rammed it into the bowl in the hope that something would stick to it. This worked ok for something like thick yoghurt, but less so for scooping scrambled eggs or less sticky food. Anyway, more recently he’s developed some good scooping and spoon action.

 

Motor skills and developments at 16 months. Baby-Brain.co.uk

Wooden counter activity

He’s also able to coordinate himself with this game of putting wooden counters onto pegs (increased hand eye coordination), whereas previously he was able to get the counters off the pegs, but was less successful in threading them back on.

Unsure why the “sudden” change. Maybe it’s about that time, but it’s great because it means more independent eating skills for me so I can get on with doing some things around the kitchen while he eats! We are still rather messy with the yoghurt, however.

 

More on child development milestones: Here’s a nice, interactive birth to five years old development timeline from the NHS:

“An interactive guide to child development from birth to five years old, including videos and advice to help parents along the way”.

Includes information and ages you might expect certain skills and developments including walking alone (10-18 months), eating solids, taking an interest in words (12-18 months), learns to hold a crayon, and so on.

 

 

 

Babies, toddlers, their teeth and the dentist

The dentist, babies, toddlers, and healthy teeth. What is good dental practice for infants?We had our first dentist appointment today! (nearly 14.5 months).

I naively thought it would all go smoothly, but the Little Lovely refused to open his mouth. I sat with him on the chair, with him in my lap. The dentist was very nice and seemed like she had experience in working with small children. She brought out some stickers and tried to gain his interest. He wasn’t very interested. She got a very quick glimpse in his mouth. We tried to encourage him to open his mouth again but he didn’t like it and got upset. The upside of this was that she could see into his mouth again. All that we learnt was that he is still missing his back molars (which we know…), and the dentist said he might be a bit grumpy if they are coming in. She said only to use a very small amount of toothpaste and asked if he had a varied diet. We were only there for about 5 minutes, if that. Oh well. But, she made the good point that at the next appointment (in 6 months) and future appointments, he should be more used to it because he would have been a few times. Good point, yes:

Desensitization (where the anxiety or emotional response to a situation/stimulus is reduced through repeated experience, or exposure to that situation/stimulus) 

and habituation (reduced response from repeated exposure to the “thing”  and over time because it doesn’t have the same impact any more)!

So the brief appointment wasn’t in vain.

Anyway, what do guidelines say about child tooth health? The NHS says about children’s teeth:

A regular teeth-cleaning routine is essential for good dental health

Obviously… and what else?

Start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through… It’s important to use a fluoride paste as this helps prevent and control tooth decay

 

Below the age of three years, children should use just a smear of toothpaste.

 

And further information found here says:

 

Your child’s teeth should be brushed twice a day: last thing at night before bed and at least one other time

 

The amount of toothpaste used depends on your child’s age. For children under three years, use a smear or thin film of toothpaste that covers less than three-quarters of the brush.

 

Don’t let your child eat or lick toothpaste from the tube.

 

All children should use fluoride toothpaste…Children under three should use toothpaste containing no less than 1,000 ppm fluoride.

 

What about the dentist:

Taking your child to the dentist

Take your child to the dentist when the first milk teeth appear. This is so they become familiar with the environment and get to know the dentist. The dentist can help prevent decay and identify any oral health problems at an early stage. Just opening up the child’s mouth for the dentist to take a look is useful practise for when they could benefit from future preventative care.

 

When you visit the dentist, be positive about it and make the trip fun. This will stop your child worrying about future visits.

 

Take your child for regular dental check-ups as advised by the dentist. NHS dental care for children is free.

Oh good, so this taps into the earlier points about gradually exposing the child to the dentist and dental environment so that it becomes normal and familiar. Also, associating the trip with something fun and exciting sounds like a good idea, so that it doesn’t seem like a big, scary thing.

 

…Next appointment, 6 months!

Update on our week and development at 13 months – talking, walking, accents

We are into the 13th month. What has the Little Lovely (LL) been doing?

 

update at 13 months - now we are walking. baby-brain.co.uk. Psychology, babies, motherhood, blog

Baby Feet

He started walking about a month ago, with his hand being held and then independently. Before he turned 1 we saw maybe 1 little step a couple of times. Then a few weeks later a definite series of 3 steps or so, which turned into more steps and then he just decided he would walk. I wonder if it was a confidence thing because he could walk with two or one hand being held but wasn’t able to do it alone. Now he is walking quite a bit, not very fast and with a slightly awkward gait and leg position, bit like a cowboy but he is probably walking more than crawling to get places he wants to go.
He also decided to dive head first onto the floor few days ago. Not from very high but resulted in a slight bruise. We called the NHS helpline on “111” (when you need help and advice but it’s not an emergency) and they were semi-helpful, if not a bit “automated”. I think the 111 number involves call centre staff who go through a series of prescribed questions with you over the phone, but they might not necessarily be highly medically trained. Anyway, he’s all ok but was an unpleasant experience.

 

We are also talking more and he has added more words to his vocabulary. There is a lot of gobbledegook but no string of real words yet, or even two real words linked together, only single words. His favourite word at the moment is “bath”. “Bus” comes second. He can also say toes, and point to them, and this morning was able to repeat “Kirk”, and “Spock” when watching Star Trek. He has a strange, possibly twang of northern accent for some reason (we don’t have one), for example, he says “baath” (rather than barth), “turrs” (rather than toes), “turst” (toast) and “shurrs” (shoes), that I can think of off the top of my head.

 

Which makes me wonder, do babies speak with an accent?

Well, we don’t have this odd northern accent so i’m not sure where he gets it from, I think it’s just the way he is able to pronounce certain syllables at the moment and possibly about the maturity of his palate as he is still quite young. Once things flow a bit smoother verbally maybe it will change. Looking into this a bit more, however, this article from the BBC writes about research that looked at “cry melodies” in newborns and found “clear differences in the shape of the infants’ cry melodies that corresponded to their mother tongue”. Further:

Babies begin to pick up the nuances of their parents’ accents while still in the womb

The reason for this?

 

They say the babies are probably trying to form a bond with their mothers by imitating them… “Newborns are highly motivated to imitate their mother’s behaviour in order to attract her and hence to foster bonding”…

 

…This is really interesting because it suggests that they are producing sounds they have heard in the womb and that means learning and that it is not an innate behaviour.

Interesting. Also, they suggest the “cry melodies” were shaped because “melody contour” might be the only aspect of the mother’s speech that a newborn is able to imitate at their stage (as vocal control does not develop until later).

 

Older babies at one year also “acquire the specific accented sounds of their parents and…the first year of listening makes a lasting impact on the way we speak for our entire lives”, according to research by Professor Patricia Kuhl, as discussed briefly here.

 

Babies and infants then do pick up on accents and nuances of their parent’s pronunciations. But, we might have to wait a bit longer to see what kind of accent LL develops.
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