Your toddler is 14 months old and is no doubt into everything, whether she is running around or bottom-shuffling across the floor.
This month she is working on a huge number of skills from walking to talking, and you can expect lots of fun along the way.
Feeding and sleeping
Your little one will still need around 13-14 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, but her sleep cycle will likely have developed so that she sleeps more soundly and for longer periods, with fewer periods of wakefulness during the night. There will always be days where things do not quite go to plan, but routine is important to ensure settled sleep during the night becomes a common rather than an occasional occurrence. Your toddler may have dropped her second day time nap by now, settling down for just one after her lunch.
By now, your little one should be eating around three balanced meals per day, with a couple of healthy snacks in between. You may notice that she starts refusing foods that she has previously enjoyed but there is no need to worry – keep offering a variety of foods as she figures out what she likes and what she is not as keen on. On some days you may notice your child eats more than on others – just like us, her appetite will vary and she will naturally stop when she is full. Offer water with and without meals and around 400ml of milk over the course of the day, as whole cow’s milk or breastmilk and as a drink or cooked into meals.
Your child will also need daily vitamin drops and your GP or health visitor will be able to advise if you are worried about your baby’s feeding pattern and weight gain.
At this age, your toddler may say five or six recognisable words, alongside ‘mama’ and ‘dada’. There is no need to worry if she is not quite at this stage yet though as she will still be able to communicate her needs in other ways and will understand a lot more than she can say.
There will likely be days when your child is fiercely independent, and others where she does not want to be away from you. Separation anxiety is normal and after dropping her off at nursery, she will soon start to enjoy herself and the tears will subside. Distraction and consistency at drop off are key.
Alongside the occasional tantrum may come an outburst of biting or hitting. While unpleasant, this is normal in many children at this age and often happens when they are frustrated and cannot verbalise what they want to. Remain calm and firm as you tell your toddler ‘no’ and this behaviour will soon stop. On the plus side, your little one may also be giving plenty of cuddles and kisses at this age to balance out the meltdowns.
Senses and physical development
There tends to be a lot of variation at this age between what different children can do physically. Some children may be on their way to running around, while others might not yet have taken those first few tentative steps. If your toddler is walking, she is likely to be accident prone as her depth perception and coordination continue to develop. Your reaction to her tumbles will influence hers so – unless she has hurt herself – try not to react too dramatically to help avoid any extra upset.
Some 14-month-olds will be experiencing teething pains as their molars begin to break through. This can result in red cheeks, sore gums, and unsettled behaviour, particularly in the night. Alongside pain relief when teething is at its worst, you can help to soothe sore gums through massage and with cool teething toys.
Playing with your fourteen-month-old
As your toddler becomes more mobile and confident in her legs, you may notice a preference for playing while standing. You can support this by placing her favourite toys on a low table or setting up some messier activities on a low tray in the garden. Where possible, you may want to allow her time out of the buggy when you are out and about, encouraging her to walk along with you, albeit slowly. Push along toys can also be useful in supporting her on her way to independent walking.
Reading together is a fantastic way to support your toddler’s language development while being an enjoyable activity for you both. You may notice she likes to turn the pages ahead of you reading what is on them, but she is still taking in the words you are saying and absorbing them like a little sponge.
Stacking blocks together will support her hand-to-eye coordination and you may notice that she soon wants to add more than two blocks to her tower. No doubt she will also enjoy knocking the tower down! Shape sorting toys will also encourage the development of her motor skills and her ability to recognise different shapes.
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 little one’s development, talk to your doctor or health visitor.
Jen Dowding, Baby massage and baby yoga instructor, Basking Babies Laindon & Orsett