Caring for your 1-year old

During their first 12 months many newborns triple their weight. Following birthday number one, the next 12 months result in a 25 percent average increase of body weight. This year dawns the “Age of Toddler-hood” with life-changing mobility. Baby is self-centered and oblivious to others’ wishes unless they personally coincide. One-year-olds begin playing make-believe games and love to imitate adult actions like sipping coffee and answering the telephone. Unable to comprehend the concept of sharing, they engage in parallel play as opposed to playing together. This means that while they are with playmates, they scrutinize and imitate their actions but do not actually engage in play. This presents a social challenge for parents since baby desires companionship but isn’t ready to play with others yet.

Developmental characteristics:

  • Can be weaned from breast or bottle.
  • Begins to eat with a fork, spoon and training cup independently.
  • Can respond to simple commands.
  • Can say one-syllable words like “mama,” “dada” and “hi.”
  • Can express desires through gestures and words.
  • Motor skills enable pinching, squeezing, poking and twisting.
  • May have decreased appetite due to slower growth rate.
  • Will kick balls, sort shapes, turn pages and knobs and scribble vigorously.
  • May build a six-block-high tower only to topple it.
  • Able to stand unassisted for several minutes at a time.
  • Shy when making friends (a one-or-two-year process).
  • Teething may influence appetite and sense of well-being.

Supporting actions and activities:

  • Accommodate emptying and filling almost anything.
  • Put raisins or pieces of cereal into a plastic gallon milk jug and let baby figure out how to empty it.
  • Arrange play dates but be ready to be a referee and divert attention away from conflicts.
  • Save junk mail for baby to open and re-assemble.
  • Start introducing simple behavior limits.
  • Create a sense of daily order and consistency.
  • Begin to chat about consequences that come from disobedience.
  • Begin replacing liquid with solid food.
  • Reinforce waving goodbye to friends and family.
  • Play games like pat-a-cake.
  • Allow controlled snacking but don ’t let it hinder mealtime appetite.

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