At 21 months your baby is now a very active and curious toddler…
Routines are the most important thing for your toddler, it is better if his world is predictable. Try to keep up with a schedule and have always the same eating and sleeping times. Sleeping is very important for the cognitive development of your baby at this point. Establishing a routine will make your life easier by avoiding bedtime tantrums and not wanting to eat at lunch or dinner time.
Your toddler will also be able to practice essential skills everyday like brushing his teeth and feeding himself to dressing himself in the morning. You should encourage this behavior so your baby can grow an independent and strong child. It is not obligatory to do this every day, unpredictable things can happen that throw you out of your schedule, but remember to keep things going in the same order and to keep the routine even on weekends to keep your toddler on track.
Tantrums are on the horizon
Tantrums are inevitable even if you keep a strict routine, but you need to know how to manage them or else your toddler will be throwing them at you every time things don’t go the way he wants. The most important thing that you need to do is calm him. Take him to a quiet place, keep yourself relaxed and sit with him until his frustration passes.
Sometimes it helps if you distract him with another activity or a toy, just don’t do it as a reward. Remember that toddlers like to test how much control over the situations they have. He will ask you for things he knows you won’t give, or do the exact opposite of what you told him just to test his boundaries sometimes. While this can be frustrating, you need to keep your cool and know that he needs you to say no and show him that you are the one in command of the situation.
Child proof furniture
It is normal if you feel worried about the safety of your child now that he is fully mobile and can get everywhere in the house. The physical challenges during this period will help your baby grow and you should not overly protect him and avoid his movements. Let him run around the house freely, just be sure that the furniture is child proof since his coordination is still not at its best and accidents can happen. By now, you should have any sharp corners covered, dangerous drawers locked, and book cases, or any similar furniture that can topple over, out of his reach.
Your toddler will be curious about everything and it can be difficult to keep an eye on him at every wake moment. To avoid any accidents while you are not looking, you have to keep sharp objects out of his reach, preferably locked in a high cabinet, some babies love to climb and you would be surprised of how high they can get. You also have to keep any windows locked and no low furniture placed beneath them. Remember that your toddler sees your home as his playground and by now he will be able to get on top of sofas, chairs and even tables.
Age appropriate toys
As for toys, you should seek always the most age appropriate and things that will stimulate his cognitive development. They have to be safe and not contain any small pieces that he can swallow or choke on. You also have to choose toys that he likes; if he does not feel attracted to it right away chances are that he will not like to play with it. Good examples are books, pretend toys, building bricks, and musical instrument toys.
Cognitive and physical development
Your child´s development will be evident by this month not only physically but also in his cognitive abilities. He or she now has the coordination to bend down and pick up small objects that they will try to put in their mouths. They can run around the house and even climb on furniture. On the other hand, your toddler will be able to learn a lot of things, like the name of their body parts, the name of their toys, how to draw vertical lines and sometimes round shapes. They will be really curious about the world around them and investigate small insects, flowers and other small things they see. They will also be more in touch with their senses, trying to understand different sounds and smells and you should explain these things to them. Books will also be great for their development since you can use the pictures to teach them new words and sounds.
Independence with your toddler
Your toddler will now be more independent, he will not need you to show him how to do everything. He will be able to play by himself since he knows how to use his toys, he can ask another adult to read a story with him, and he will even start to refer to himself by his first name. It is great if your toddler can be more autonomous so you won’t need to be with him at all times.
You can help him to develop this by leaving him in the living room playing while you make dinner and explaining to him that he does not need to follow you at all times. If he seems anxious, explain that you will be back and even set a timer so he understands that after a little while you will be by his side again. Once he understands this you will be left with more time to multitask. Of course it is still important to check on him and to make sure that he is safe, but try to do this without him realizing to help his independence. He will also be more aware of other people and he will be able to share his toys and play with other toddlers. You can train him to recognize family members by showing him their pictures and saying their names.
The most important thing is for you to always be there for your toddler and help when he needs it. He will be more independent but he will still need you on his side for a long time. Just keep him safe and encourage him to learn new words and try new things.