Your toddler will be full of energy, curious and keen to show off her new-found independence. Some days, it feels hard to keep up and she will certainly be keeping you on your toes.
Here is what you can expect this month.
Feeding and sleeping
Your little one will continue to need around 13-14 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, made up of 11-12 hours at night and an afternoon nap of 1-2 hours. Aim for bedtime at around 7/8pm with some wind-down time beforehand. Even if the afternoon nap does not happen one day, try to include some quiet time in the afternoon to make it through until bedtime. Hyperactivity can often be mistaken for lots of energy, but it can be caused by overtiredness.
You may find that your little one starts to resist bedtime through a fear of missing out on what older members of the family are up to but try to remain consistent with a calm bedtime routine to give her time to wind-down.
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.
As your little one’s independence flourishes, she may be exercising her will at mealtimes, perhaps refusing food and becoming fussy. Keep calm, model the behaviour you would like to see (eat your broccoli!) and try to resist offering bribes to encourage her to eat the things she does not want to. This might work in the short term but will only reinforce her current feelings that she does not like that food item, and it is not worth eating.
While your 19-month-old will likely be able to say quite a few words now, she may still babble away to herself in gibberish as she plays. This is her way of practicing speaking and role-playing conversation. Encourage this type of independent play and join in when she asks you to, playing shop together or talking on the pretend phone. Your little one will be developing a great sense of humour, laughing at silly faces and games that you play together.
You will have heard of the terrible twos, but challenging behaviour can show itself before then, with tantrums and a refusal to share common at this age. These things are completely normal, and it is important to show that you are available to listen to your little one when she is feeling frustrated or upset rather than simply telling her to ‘calm down’. When it comes to manners, lead by example using ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, and praise positive behaviour such as sharing toys with others.
Senses and physical development
At 19-months-old, your little one might be picking up quite a speed when she runs and will likely enjoy attempting to escape and run away, so take care in the supermarket – those aisles are a toddler’s paradise! She may also try to exercise her independence when it comes to hand-holding so the pushchair can come in handy near busy roads, as can reins.
Playing with your nineteen-month-old
Continue to encourage your toddler’s language development by playing and chatting together regularly throughout the day. Playing role-play games such as playing shop or talking on a pretend telephone can be a great way to support speech.
Your little one may be able to kick a ball now so play football together in the garden or over the park to give her the opportunity to work on her coordination, while burning off some of that toddler energy. The climbing frame will provide hours of entertainment if you have a climber on your hands too and might give your furniture a break.
At 19 months old, you may notice your toddler imitating the things you do, such as talking on the telephone or reading a magazine. She may enjoy feeding and caring for a doll, for example, or helping you to prepare lunch which can also encourage healthy eating habits and a love of cooking.
Potty training does not usually start this early for most children, but your little one may start to become more aware that she is doing a wee or a poo and might tell you so. The chances are she accompanies you to the toilet when you go anyway so you might as well make the most of the opportunity to tell her what you are doing, letting her flush the chain, and washing your hands together. This will help her to become familiar with the idea and when the time comes, it will not be scary to her.
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