When your toddler reaches 22 months old you will keep noticing that he develops fast
Now that your toddler is 22 months old, he reaches some important milestones. They are more coordinated physically, being able for example to throw a ball without falling. However, you cannot know for sure yet if he is right or left-handed even if you notice that he seems to prefer one hand over the other.
Cognitive development at 22 months old
His cognitive development will also be really evident at 22 months old, since he will be more self-assured and set on achieving objectives. He knows how to make things happen and he will set is mind on specific missions like finishing a puzzle. The bad side of this is that he will get frustrated if he cannot complete it. He can get frustrated when he is trying to get something accomplished and cannot do it.
You can help him by praising him for trying and encouraging him to keep trying. You can give him simple tasks to do with you so he can feel a sense of accomplishment, like watering the plants or putting away the trash. This way he can learn about his limitations and still be optimistic to keep trying new things. Being frustrated is normal for toddlers this age since their cognitive development is more advanced than their physical abilities.
His vocabulary is still underdeveloped since the typical two-year old vocabulary consists of only around 20 words. This makes it difficult for him to express his feelings and needs, which can be stressing and make him feel like you do not understand him. You have to keep in mind that he can understand many more words than the ones he can say. Reading children’s books to him and singing will help the language development. Listening and imitation are a major part of the learning process. Read slowly so that he understands and does not lose interest, and allow him to scan the pages and look at the pictures so he can associate them with words.
Your toddler will get scared sometimes since there are a lot of things in the world that he does not understand. When he gets scared it is important for you to support him and explain why he should not be afraid. If he expresses to you that he is afraid of the dark reassure him that there are no monsters. You should also support him when he gets upset or angry so he can be more secure about his feelings and all the new emotions he is experiencing. He is aware of other people’s feelings and will empathize when he sees that someone is sad or excited.
At 22 months old your toddler will need your reassurance and encouragement while he explores the world around him. He is more independent now but not totally yet, so he will need an adult beside him at all times. This will raise a problem since he will be possessive over your attention and try to be your main focus at all times. He will get jealous if you pay more attention to his siblings or other tasks, and you will have to learn how to deal with that. You should not scold him but instead explain to him that you cannot give your full attention at all times. Try to verbalize his feelings so he knows that you understand him.
As your baby becomes more social and starts to play with other kids it is important for you to teach him some basic concepts. You have to teach him that he should share his toys. He also needs to get the concept of taking turns so he does not get into a tantrum when he does not get things as he wants. It is also important for him to know that some things are not appropriate to do in public.
Tantrums, fears and how to deal with them
Food, at 22 months old, is usually an issue since toddlers do not like to try new foods. To overcome this, the only solution is to present the new food over and over again. Do not force him to eat something that he refuses, it can take toddlers several times to get around the idea of eating a new food item. Talk him through it and show him that there is nothing for him to be insecure about. Just try to be patient and keep serving it in small portions with other foods that he likes. Alternatively try to transform the food so that it does not seem as intimidating by for example pureeing it. If he likes the taste you can tell him next time what he just ate.
You have to make him happy to eat everything and make him associate mealtimes with a pleasant experience so you will not have troubles with it later. Not only during mealtimes, but also in other places you should teach your toddler to wash his hands regularly since he will be putting them in his mouth. You should also teach him not to touch dirty things like the floor or the trash bin.
There will also be struggles at bedtime. The best way to avoid this is to keep a strict routine. He should know that bedtime cannot be avoided. If your toddler is giving you a hard time before going to bed allow him to make some small decisions so he feels that he is in control. Ask him which story he wants you to read or what pajamas he wants to wear. Keep the decision of going to bed yours to make. His new-found independence will sometimes be an obstacle not only during bed time but many times when you are trying to take control of a situation. He will like to have his say and go into a tantrum if you don’t allow him. You have to deal with this without encouraging this bad behavior.
Distraction is also a good tool to use when he his making a power struggle. When he tries to force his opinion upon you can make him focus on something else. Changes in routine are also difficult for toddlers to grasp. To help him adjust to changes in his everyday life you should talk them through with him. Avoid a lot of changes at the same time as this can be overwhelming.
Toddlers love to imitate adults since that is how they learn. You can use this to help him overcome his fears. For example, if your toddler does not like to go to the doctor and feels anxious or scared when you go visit the pediatrician, play doctor with him. Pretend to be the doctor and imitate yourself what usually happens in a pediatrician’s office. This way he will associate the doctor with playing and will be less anxious since he will be prepared for the things that the doctor does.
It is normal for you to feel frustrated too. Dealing with a toddler is not easy but you cannot give in to the temptation of throwing a tantrum yourself or screaming at your baby. Just remember that everything in the world is new to him. He needs you to support him at all times. You have to learn how to calm yourself and not to fuss over little things.