Toddler development: Your 17-month-old

Toddler development: Your 17-month-old

Your toddler's grasp is growing stronger. Physically, he is developing his pincher grip, which means he can hold on to zippers and pencils. Emotionally, he is learning about emotions. He is developing his empathy, and beginning to understand that other people have feelings too. Find out how you can help him on his journey!

Open and close, lights on and off, zip and unzip. Your toddler loves to make things happen! It's almost as if his favorite song "Wheels on the bus" has come to life: the doors on the bus go open – and shut, open – and shut. This stage of toddler development is all about getting into the nitty-gritty of things, be it the fridge or his emotions.

Toddler development: Your 17-month-old

17 Month Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Tot on Track?

Physical Development

As your tiny tot's gross motor development gallops ahead, his fine motor skills are catching up. His little fingers are getting more and more dexterous. His pincher grip is growing stronger.

This means it's time to get out pen and paper, and watch him draw a line and even an arc. He is also able to hold on to a large zipper and do it up or down – as long as you hold down the fabric for him.

He could be turning door knobs and opening doors if he's tall enough and definitely is able to open floor-level drawers. He might even have figured out how to undo his diaper, so keep a close watch on him!

It could mean he is getting interested in going to the potty – but he would be a very early adopter. Most children don't gain reliable control over their bladder until after they turn two years old. Instead, they rely on their mommy, daddy or auntie to remind them when to go.

Another favorite game is opening and closing the fridge. Your toddler is fascinated by the little light that comes on! Also, he might be enjoying the coolness of the fridge in the hot humid weather. This is a good time to start stacking your chocolate on the higher shelves.

You might find yourself constantly searching for things: your shoes disappear, you wallet, your keys... Now your toddler can walk while carrying things, he loves dragging and re-arranging things. Usually without letting you know!

He will be up and running by now, but is not yet fully coordinated. Don't worry if he is constantly bumping into the sofa and the coffee table, this is completely normal.

Dancing is another favorite, although a sense of rhythm is not yet part of this stage of toddler development. He loves to move to music and to follow along when you sing him songs.

Cognitive Development

A stronger pincher grip also means your little one is ready for the next phase of toy's for toddler development: sorting games! Now is the time to break out those shape sorting cubes, the colorful stacking cups and the wooden puzzles with the knobs on pieces for lifting and putting back into place.

When you're talking about shapes, it's good to also mention colors. Although some toddlers quickly develop a preference for one color (yellow is firm favorite), don't worry if your toddler doesn't seem interested. Recognizing colors is only just beginning!

Your toddler is probably still chewing on his toys. This is completely normal. Your little one is using all of his senses to make sense of the world--that includes tasting! Your task is to make sure his toys are clean. Give them a quick rinse every few days, and always after taking them outside.

Round about now, your toddler will begin to show the results of all his earlier explorations. He will let you know he recognizes places and people, demonstrating his power of memory. Look at his surprised face when you decide to switch around the furniture in the living room!

Social and Emotional Development

Your toddler's grasp is growing emotionally as well physically. He is experiencing a wide range of emotions, from joy and delight to sadness, anger and frustration.

You can help him by naming his emotions so he knows what he is feeling: "I see you are feeling sad" or "I see you are feeling angry". Keep it simple. By naming his emotions, you show your toddler you care and understand.

Through learning about his own feelings, your bub also begins to understand that other people might be feeling the same. This is the basis for empathy.

Your tiny toddler is easily overwhelmed by his big emotions. He doesn't yet know how to handle them. Don't be scared if he stamps his feet, screams or bangs his hands on the floor. This is a way for him to release built-up tension.

Other children have a favorite toy to cuddle or might calm down when sucking their thumb or a pacifier. As they grow older, they will learn new ways of dealing with their emotions, and let go of these habits.

As with everything, this is a long process! Don't worry if your child is not demonstrating particular affection for other people yet. At this age, they are still focused on themselves first.

While showing care and understanding, it also important for your little one to know where the boundaries are. Your consistency gives him a sense of security.

However, it's okay if your rules are different from those at lolo and lola's house, or at daycare. Children, even toddlers, understand this.

At this age, toddlers respond better to being told what to do instead of what not to do. They do not have the ability to come up with a completely new idea on their own. If you say "don't throw the ball", he doesn't know what else to do with it! So tell him: "please put the ball down". Let him know what you expect of him.

And be realistic in your expectations. With his brain still so hard at work at growing and understanding the world in general, it is very hard to remember all the rules for your little one!

You are still the most important person in his universe, so any praise from you will lift his heart. Be sure to always let him know when he is doing something right, and shower him with kisses and cuddles.

Speech and Language

Speech is all about sound, and your little one is trying out all ways of making sounds! He might be whispering one moment, screaming the next, babbling all morning and growl in the afternoon.

This part of toddler speech development is training the mouth, tongue and vocal cords to move in different ways in order to form specific sounds and words.

You can encourage him by playing games, such as a whisper contest. You can pretend to be monsters and growl at each other, or even, if you're out of doors, a singing match to see who can sing the loudest. And once he gets all his voice exercise with you, he'll be less prone to screaming indoors.

At this time you can begin introducing descriptive words. Before, communication was simple, noun and verb. Now you can add in adjectives, like: "Look, there's a white flower" and "do you see the big doggie?"

Similarly, instructions can become slightly more complicated, although still one step at the time: "Please, put the big blocks in the box".

A combination of words and actions is best for your toddler. However much he might be understanding, seeing what you mean, helps him work out what you want him to do.

And besides, you are his most important role model. If he sees you tidying away, he knows that must be fun!

Tips for Parents

Take a minute to observe your little one. If he is only looking at you when you speak, turning or tilting his head to look at you with one eye or if he always holds his toys close to his eyes, it might be good to consult your pediatrician.

Other red flags in vision are discoloration, red eyes and a marked sensitivity to bright light and sun.

All children develop at their own pace. Some process their emotions by sitting quietly in a corner, and some need to scream from the top of their lungs.

Some toddlers are already drawing circles, while others prefer chewing on crayons and have no interest in drawing at all.

None of this is any indication for their future development or education. Legend has it that Einstein did not begin speaking until three years old! Have a look at our articles on developmental red flags to find out more about early warning signals. But if you are concerned, make sure to consult your pediatrician.

Your toddler’s previous month: 16 months

Your toddler’s next month: 18 months

Republished with permission from: theAsianparent

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