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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)…

 

Tummy Time for baby – and why it’s important

Tummy Time for baby - Why it's important! Tips & information, from baby-brain.co.uk

Tummy Time (TT) is important in that long road toward crawling and eventually walking. It involves baby working their muscles, coordination skills and learning to push up, sit up, roll over and other gross motor skills. It’s therefore important to give babies time on their tummy.

Since the Back To Sleep campaign (babies to sleep on their backs), babies were apparently getting less “tummy time” during the day, leading to some delays in reaching important developmental milestones such as crawling (according to this article from the BBC on the importance of Tummy Time for babies and their development). These children did catch up, however.
Some babies can really dislike tummy time, however. I found some tips on this site from a paediatric occupational therapist
– 7 tips for making tummy time a little less miserable, if TT needs some encouragement.
  • It writes about 7 steps to independent TT, starting each step a few times a day for a few minutes while progressing up the steps. It’s also a good idea not to do TT too soon after a meal otherwise there might be a bit of spit up.
  • The Little Lovely (LL) didn’t really mind TT, although in the first few months he could only tolerate a short amount of time on his tummy before making frustrated sounds. I think this was because he was working quite hard in trying to do mini push ups and so it was probably quite tiring for him.
There is a wealth of information out there on how to make tummy time fun and interesting for you both, how to assist baby with tummy time and what to do if baby does not like being on this tummy.
When I first started with LL we tried some assisted TT by rolling up a towel or blanket and putting this under his chest so that he could experience his chest being raised and pushed up from the floor, but without so much of the strain for him.
Tummy Time for baby - tips and information, from baby-brain.co.uk

Tummy Time

  • Make it a bonding experience – there are different games you can play while practising TT and baby doesn’t have to be on their own, tummy down on the floor. Try placing baby on your tummy, tummy to tummy so that you can both see each other when they lift their head. Or, lie on your back and put baby on his tummy on your legs.Lift up your legs, while holding baby securely, and pretend to be an aeroplane. If baby is tummy down on the floor, use toys to encourage them to reach, move, and lift their head. Or, talk or sing to your baby to encourage this. Always supervise TT with baby.
I won’t pretend to be an expert on TT, because i’m not, but here’s a website totally devoted to it – Tummy Time Tips (from paediatric occupational therapist that you can check out for more information. It includes information on the importance of TT, what it is, how to do it (tummy time tips), and a helpful video
Some further links regarding Tummy Time that I have found on my travels:

 

Tummy Time is important in that long road toward crawling and eventually walking. It involves baby working their muscles and coordination and learning to push up, sit up, roll over and other gross motor skills. It's therefore important to give babies time on their tummy.

Have a Tummy Fun Time

How to play with a newborn baby (0-3 months) – what and why – psychology and research


What, how and why to play with your newborn. Really interesting psychology behind newborn play and what's important
As I approach the 5th month with the new baby (already!) I was looking back and thinking of the ways that we “played”. There’s a lot of time in the day so how can you play with baby and what can you do all day long? Well, apart from nappy changes, sleeps, screams, baths and other practical “stuff”, here’s some ways we played together and some of the psychology/research behind activity ideas:

 

SOUND – COMMUNE

Talking:

Face to Face time is a GREAT way to play. This means simply being face to face with baby and having a chat. You can talk about anything; something that you did that day or just make certain sounds with some over the top mouth-moving to show how you’re making it, like B-B-B-B-B-B, OOoooo.

 

→ → → Talk in a funny voice!

Talking is important but it’s a case of Quality, not Quantity

Talking in “parentese” – that baby talk that we do, characterised by higher pitch, slowed down and exaggerated intonation (6) – might irritate some but apparently it has it’s benefits; slowing speech down and exaggerating sounds, also introducing that “sing song” element to the voice is something babies like. It works well with very young babies according to this article who report that prevalence of baby talk with children (in one to one conversations rather than in groups) was linked to better language development,

The more parents exaggerated vowels – for example “How are youuuuu?” – and raised the pitch of their voices, the more the 1-year olds babbled, which is a forerunner of word production.

 

When the babies were 2 years old, parents filled out a questionnaire measuring how many words their children knew. Infants who had heard more baby talk knew more words

Singing:

Again, communication is paramount so singing counts too. Apparently, from day one babies have an ability (innate) to discriminate rhythmic patterns. See this interesting article from Psychology Today for more but in sum, you can start in utero – around 25 weeks of pregnancy the baby starts to process auditory signals – which is why newborns may prefer their mother’s voice, because it is quite familiar to them!

 

Reading:

Reading from birth is a great thing to practice, and has benefits. See my reading page for more in-depth information on the psychology of reading with babies and small children. In brief, baby will recognise their mother’s voice from the womb (1) and hearing it from day one may be familiar and comforting to them, reassuring them of your presence (2).
When we read we usually read with different expression and voices than when we talk and books/reading materials contain different vocabularies, words, expressions than what we might use in every day talk around our children. This is useful because it exposes the child to more varied language and sounds.
Reading to babies from the early months has been found (3) to be related to increased reading with babies at 8 months old (creating a reading habit), which in turn, related to language abilities at 12 and 16 months, particularly with expressive language (being able to put thoughts into words and sentences).
Interaction when reading has also been highlighted as an important element in relation to language development (4) with older babies (12 months).

 

TOUCH

The importance of touch: how what and why to play with newborn 0-3 months

Touching feet

Touching hands, touching feet – we did a lot of this in month one, mainly because his little feet were so cute. The baby and I are due to take part in a research study soon at a Baby Lab about whether infants in the early months can distinguish between a social touch and other touch. This will involve monitoring activity and touching baby’s arm with a toothbrush and then touching by hand.
Skin to skin is recommended and touch is going to be important! Research has reported increased touch to facilitate growth and development (cited in 5). Research on benefits of touch with premature babies has also influenced procedures in some hospitals such as use of “kangaroo care” where the baby receives skin to skin contact being held upright against the bare chest of the carrier (5). There is a huge wealth of literature out there about importance of touch and skin to skin with babies and infants which I encourage you to read further if this is an area of interest to you.

 

Sensory play

We also did lots of sensory play such as touching soft toys, a range of textured material and letting him touch/kick his little feet on some crunchy sounding tissue paper.Sensory play idea for newborn and 0-3 months - kicking tissue paper. The psychology of newborn play

 

SIGHT

  • Mirroring, including mirroring noises and chatting, having a conversation

  • Face time

  • Tongue talk

  • Copy Cats

How, what and why play with your newborn: stick your tongue out at them! Baby-Brain.co.uk

Nurrr

We spent a lot of time sticking our tongues out at each other! Given baby’s limited communication channels, this was something he was able to do and I sat there and “Mirrored” him, i.e. copying what he was doing and sticking my tongue out in response to him. This then turned into a kind of “conversation” where we would take it it turns. I then threw a few more facial expressions in and tongue clicks which seemed to interest him. This early study (6) writes that babies between 12-21 days old are able to imitate facial gestures, so you can try it from the first few weeks! Also loving the pictures in that article of the baby imitating “mouth opening” and especially the “lip protrusion”.

 

High contrast:

High contrast black & white images with baby - what how why play with newborns and 0-3 months

In terms of visual aspects and development, the visual system is not yet fully developed at birth (a). Baby has difficulty distinguishing between similar colours such as orange and red and so prefer high contrast colours such as black against white. We used several “high contrast” images and resources such as a black and white book and flash cards.

 

 

Let’s Face It

Face time your baby! The importance of talking with newborns and psychology of interaction

Who’s there?

Babies love looking at faces; even in the days after birth a baby will prefer to look at images of a face compared to other images. YOU are their favourite play thing and baby will be very interested in staring at you whilst you sing/talk/coocheecoo at them.

YOU are your baby’s favourite play thing!

Mirroring and attachment:

Here’s a good video about “marked mirroring” with your baby. The page has described it nicely so I’ll just quote here:

Facial expressions that help a baby to know his feelings are understood are known as ‘mirroring’. Mirroring is said to be ‘marked’ when the parent mirrors the emotion then quickly ‘marks’ the interaction with a reassuring expression. Mirroring shows the baby that he is understood and reflects the feeling he is experiencing.

 

The’marking’ helps the baby know the feeling belongs to him and that the parent understands but is not overwhelmed and is therefore able to help him or her to manage such feelings.

(Warwick Medical School, 2014, http://www.your-baby.org.uk/early-interactions/marked-mirroring-showing-they-understand-their-babys-emotions).

 

Home activities: Tummy Time, Mirror Play, Play Gym

Mirror play with baby: What why and how to play with newborn and 0-3 months

Who’s looking at you, kid?

Tummy Time, play in the mirror and play gym were some fun and easy activities we tried at home. See links for more information on these activities. Play gyms for example have some great cognitive, visual perception, grasping and reaching skills, gross motor skills, self-awareness and sensory stimulation benefits as summarized in this nice article here by Mama OT. Personally, I could really see the baby developing in terms of gross motor skills, coordination and crossing his midline to reach out and grasp at toys.

 

Getting out and about

At first I remember it seeming very daunting and difficult on a practical level to get out of the house. Add two kids to the mix and there seemed like even more obstacles and things “to do” before we could get out the front door. However, there are many benefits and aspects for parent and child including social and mental health elements. Here’s a page about choosing activities and benefits of them for maternal mental health.

 

Lastly: Enjoy this time with baby!

Kicking tissue paper fun! Sensory activity with newborn baby and 0-3 months. Baby-Brain.co.uk

Wheee!

 

 

References:

  1. Decasper AJ, Fifer WP. Of human bonding: newborns prefer their mothers’ voice. Science. 1980;208:1174 –1176.
  2. Lariviere & Rennick (2011). Parent picture-book reading to infants in the neonatal intensive care unit as an intervention supporting parent-infant interaction and later book reading. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 32 (2),  pp 146-152.
  3. Karras, J. & Braungart-Rieker, J. (2005). Effects of shared parent-infant book reading on early language acquisition. Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 133-148.
  4. Julie Gros-Louis, Meredith J. West, Andrew P. King. The Influence of Interactive Context on Prelinguistic Vocalizations and Maternal Responses. Language Learning and Development, 2016; DOI:10.1080/15475441.2015.1053563
  5. Ardiel, E. L., & Rankin, C. H. (2010). The importance of touch in development. Paediatr Child Health. 2010 Mar; 15(3): 153–156.
  6. Ramírez-Esparza, N., García-Sierra, A., & Kuhl, P. K. (2014). Look who’s talking: speech style and social context in language input to infants are linked to concurrent and future speech development. Developmental Science, 17 (6): 880–891

a) Brémond-Gignac D., Copin H., Lapillonne A., Milazzo S. (2011). Visual development in infants: physiological and pathological mechanismsCurr. Opin. Ophthalmol. 22, S1–S8.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes – Crafty DIY Infant Entertainment

Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes – for babies and infants

 

sensory activity with baby - tactile/vsual entertainment tubes - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

Toilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.uk

 

  • What was the idea originally supposed to be? – A baby play station (click on link for what the activity was originally meant to look like). I changed the idea slightly
  • Where did I get the idea/activity from? – This website called Kids Activities Blog 
  • Why did I make it? – I thought it would be a fun, creative thing to, and something that would entertain the Little Lovely and also allow tactile and visual stimulation

The original activity is to make a baby play station using toilet paper rolls, wrapping different fabric/materials around each roll, attaching rolls to a curtain rod and then watching them roll as baby plays/spins them around. I decided to attach them to some string and attach the string to the play gym for the Little Lovely to play with.

 

Here’s the steps I took to make it:

material/paper scraps: sensory activity with baby - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood
Step 1: I found some materials to use that were visually stimulating and/or tactile . I used old wallpaper scraps that were bumpy and had a nice texture, and some shiny material.

sensory activity with baby - tactile/vsual entertainment tubes - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

Step 2: I carefully cut to size and glued the paper/material scraps onto toilet paper rolls, folding any excess fabric or paper into the inside of the roll.
sensory activity with baby - tactile/vsual entertainment tubes - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood  Step 3: Leave to dry
Step 4: I threaded the tactile and sensory rolls onto thick string but you could attach to a rod as in the original idea, or something safe for your infant to play with. I then attached mine to hang between two poles of the play gym. 

 

….and voilà! Here are some pictures of LL enjoying his new toy

 

Toilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.ukToilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.ukToilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety first:

  • be careful of choking hazards when choosing materials and don’t chose things to wrap around the rolls that have little parts that could fall off or be pulled off easily.  I supervised play to ensure safety and the rolls were tied up so that LL could not get them down or his mouth around them easily
  • I am wary of using string with babies because of any risks they could get caught up it in. Therefore, always attach safely so that there is no string or materials free for infant to injure self on and only allow play in your presence and under adult supervision. Take the string down after use and put away safely. Do not copy random pages/blogs on the internet. I bought some child-friendly white craft glue for this activity, however all of the glue remains under the paper/material and so does not directly touch little hands or mouths.

Learning to self feed and our new sucky bowl

So today I bought my Little Lovely (just over 12 months old) one of those bowls that suck down onto the table so that the baby can’t pick it up and throw it about.

 

I’d been meaning to buy one for a while because he’s been able to accurately direct the spoon to his mouth if you give him a spoonfull of food in his hand, but we didn’t have any plastic bowls for him to use.

 

Here’s some pictures of how it went. Initially, it went well. He picked up the spoon and had a few half spoonfuls of yoghurt.

Baby self feeding using spoon and sucky bowl. baby-brain.co.uk

 

Then, he decided to eat the yoghurt using his hand because maybe it was quicker. It soon got more messy but it’s a start!

Baby self feeding using spoon and sucky bowl. baby-brain.co.uk

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