Encouraging Baby’s Next Steps: 12 to 24 Months

In addition to providing your child with healthy nutrition, there are other important things you can do to help her boost her growth and development. Check out these fun activities you can do together.

Cognitive

Milestone: Playing pretend

What helps: Offering child-safe household items as playthings, like a telephone or non-breakable cups and plates

Why: As your toddler mimics actions she’s seen you perform with these objects, she’s learning about their purpose.

Next: Your child will start pretending on her own, but soon she’ll involve others. For example, she may offer a block to grandma that she pretends is a cracker.

Motor

Milestone 1: Walking

What helps: Don’t fuss when your baby falls; instead, let her figure out how to stand and walk on her own.

Why: Learning by herself will build confidence and independence

Next: Hold her hand and walk with her. Once your child gets the hang of toddling, she’ll speed up and walk more proficiently. She may even run before she turns 2.

Milestone 2: Stacking blocks

What helps: Show your child how to stack blocks, and then let her do it alone.

Why: Your toddler is developing hand-eye coordination and finger control when she builds two- to four-block towers.

Next: Give her blocks of different colors and materials, such as wood or plastic. With practice, your 2-year-old will be stacking five to six blocks on her own.

Communication

Milestone: First words

What helps: When your toddler starts speaking, respond by repeating the correct version of the word she’s trying to say. So if she says “baba,” you say “baby.”

Why: Now that your toddler is speaking, she needs to learn proper names so others will understand her.

Next: If your child mispronounces a word or makes a mistake, repeat the correct word.

Social

Milestone: Attachment to a security object

What helps: Encourage your child to take the object with her to bed or day care, or at other times when you’re apart.

Why: Transitional security objects, or “loveys,” stand in for you when you’re away from your child. They’ll help her self-soothe whenever you’re apart.

Next: Buy multiples of objects your child favors, or try cutting a favorite blanket in half, so you have two. That way you’ll always have a spare.