Your mobile explorer will be discovering more and more independence this month as she makes sense of the world around her.
Each child will develop at their own rate but here is what you can expect at 22 months and what you can do to support your little one’s development.
Feeding and sleeping
Your child will need around 13 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, made up of 11-12 hours at night and an afternoon nap of 1-2 hours. At this age, you may start to notice some delay tactics at bedtime, including demands for a drink or another story. This is a normal part of your toddler’s development, and – while an extra kiss or cuddle on request certainly will not do any harm – you can help her to settle down to sleep by keeping to her usual bedtime routine as much as possible.
Where food is concerned, continue to offer your toddler three meals per day, a couple of healthy snacks, and around 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 or milk, which should ideally be offered in an open cup.
Fussiness and a reluctance to stop playing to eat are common at this age so it is important to encourage good mealtime habits by eating together as a family at the dinner table where possible. You could also let your little one help to prepare food with you, encouraging an interest in ingredients, trying new things, and enjoying cooking. You may notice your child is more likely to eat something she has helped to make.
At 22 months old, your child may be saying 50 or more recognisable words as around now, many toddlers have a ‘language explosion’ and start repeating words at a rapid rate. She may be stringing together 2-4 words into sentences and asking ‘why’ questions, exhausting though they are. Your little one will understand far more than she can say so continue to talk to her about the world, what you are doing, where you are going, and so on to support her language development.
There is a lot about the world that your child does not understand so fear can crop up from time-to-time, with everything from monsters to real things setting her off. Try not to be dismissive of her emotions and reassure her that you understand, and that there is no such thing as monsters.
Validating your child’s emotions is important as it helps her to understand and regulate them as time goes by. Even if her tantrum over the wrong colour dinner plate seems irrational to you, it is very ‘real’ to her. Acknowledging that you understand how she feels will help to minimise meltdowns in the future as she becomes better able to communicate how she feels and will come to you for help when she feels upset.
Senses and physical development
While your little one will have likely mastered walking, running, picking up items, opening doors, and even throwing a ball overarm by now, she is starting to grasp cause and effect and her risk assessment skills are not quite up to sensing when there is danger. Even though she seems more than capable to do a lot of tasks, it is important to keep your eyes peeled.
As she approaches two years of age, look out for signs that your child is getting ready to start toilet-training. Many children will not be ready for months yet, but if she is letting you know in her own way – hiding for privacy, crouching down, or doing a little dance – that she is about to go, it may be worth talking to her about going to the toilet, taking her with you when you go and explaining the process in the lead up to losing the nappies.
Playing with your twenty-two-month-old
You can support your little one’s development through play in many ways, working on lots of skills in the process.
Support her motor skills through ‘making’ games – things such as building towers using blocks or simple jigsaw puzzles will also encourage her perseverance and her ability to focus on one job at a time. Colouring with crayons and painting will also help to develop her creative side.
You can encourage the development of your toddler’s imagination through make-believe games such as playing shop, building dens out of soft furnishings, and using cardboard boxes to build forts. You will have fun in the process too!
Playing with other children will help your toddler to build on her social skills, learning about things such as sharing and turn-taking. Try joining a play group or taking your little one to the park to meet up with friends.
Continue to read together regularly, both as part of her bedtime routine and during the day when she might need some quiet time. Your little one might not always sit still for a story but her attention span will increase over time and stories are fantastic tools to winddown with before bed time.
While the above indicates what you can expect to see your toddler doing this month, it is important to keep in mind that all children 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