Toddler development: Your 17-month-old

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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.

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.

Continue reading to learn more about toddler development at 17 months. Next up is Cognitive Development. Discover what toys will help him further develop his cognitive skills!

Toddler Development