Baby Development Month-by-Month: Month 15

The time might feel like it has flown by now that your little one seems more like a child than a baby.

 At 15 months of age, she is likely to show an interest in helping you around the house as she develops a sense of independence. Enjoy working together with your little assistant!

Feeding and sleeping

Most 15-month-olds will need around 13-14 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, made up of 11-12 hours at night and one nap of one-two hours during the day. Some children at this age will still enjoy two naps during the day but one of them will likely be a short cat nap.

At this age, you may notice your little one protesting at night when you leave the room. Try to remain calm and consistent with her routine and provide her with her favourite cuddly toy or blanket to help soothe her to sleep. Nightmares can also start at around this age and she will struggle to tell the difference between dreams and reality. Keep reminding her that dreams are not real when she wakes during the night needing reassurance.  

By now, your child will be used to a daily food routine of three meals per day, a couple of healthy snacks, and 400ml of whole cow’s milk or breastmilk, alongside her vitamin drops. Avoid anything high in salt or sugar and avoid adding these to her meals or offering drinks other than water.

It is common at this age for children to love something one day and refuse it the next. Try not to react and keep offering a variety of foods – fruit and vegetables, protein, dairy, and grains – for her to try. Try to eat together as a family to encourage healthy eating habits. She will be much more likely to try something if she sees another member of the family enjoying it.     

Communication

At 15 months, your toddler is most likely chatting away, using a combination of nonsense words and recognisable ones. Some children at this age will not be saying words and some will say as many as ten – both scenarios are normal and your little one will be learning and understanding new words every day, even if she cannot yet utter them back to you.  

You may notice your toddler is learning to apply intonation and expression to what she says, increasing her pitch when asking a question and using hand gestures to accompany her chatter.

Separation anxiety is likely to peak at around this age as your little one seems increasingly clingy with you and struggles to cope with having to share your attention. This is normal at this stage in her development and, while it can be stressful, try to be calm and consistent with your little one’s routine to help reassure her as to what is coming next. She will soon grow out of this phase and become more comfortable with you coming and going, safe in the knowledge that you always return.

Senses and physical development

It is likely that your toddler will be able to walk a few steps unaided at this stage, often wobbling around and holding on to furniture for support. There is no need to worry if she is still crawling or finding other ways to get around – crawling tends to be a faster method of getting around even for confident walkers!

The ability to kneel with minimal support may also develop at this age and you may notice your little one playing quite happily with a toy in a kneeling position as she experiments with movement. She may even bend down to pick up toys mid-stroll.

Stair gates are a must at this age as your toddler may attempt to climb them and will not have much awareness of how to come back down!

Playing with your fifteen-month-old

At 15-months-old, your toddler is a wonderful playmate and will enjoy spending lots of time playing with you and other members of the family.

Now is a great time to start to introduce the concept of turn-taking. While she will not necessarily oblige (and will likely develop a reluctance to share as she gets older) give and take games together can help to develop this skill. Try rolling a ball backwards and forwards between your legs or politely asking for an item she has in her hands, then encouraging her to do the same back to you.

As her ability to concentrate improves, you may find your toddler spending more time with certain toys, entertaining herself independently at times and having a little conversation with herself. Role play games can help to encourage this type of play, be it talking on a toy telephone or playing shop with some pretend food items. You could even get her involved in unpacking the weekly food shop, labelling the items as they come out of the bags. This will appeal to her desire to help you around the house. 

The contents of your bag will be a regular source of interest to your little one so keep it out of her reach if you do not fancy searching for your car keys one minute before you need to leave the house! You could put together a bag or a box of defunct household items that she can play with and keep that within easy reach for her to explore.

Continue to regularly read together, during the day as well as at bedtime and, as her concentration improves, your toddler will spend more time sitting still and enjoying reading and talking about her favourite books.

Scribbling with crayons will be a source of endless fun for your little one and will help to develop the muscles in her hands later required for writing letters and words.  

While the above indicates what you can expect to see your toddler doing this month, it is important to keep in mind that all babies are unique and will develop at their own pace. If you have any concerns about your baby’s development, talk to your doctor or health visitor.

Jen Dowding, Baby massage and baby yoga instructor, Basking Babies Laindon & Orsett

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