Your baby is now close to completing his second year of life…
If you want to learn what will be his milestones this month and how to help his development keep reading. Also remember that he will accomplish things step by step and do not worry if he does not do all that he is supposed to do yet. Every toddler is different.
Physical development at 23 months
At 23 months old your toddler can now use stairs but it is likely that he will still need to hold your hand and climb slowly. When descending the stairs he will prefer to do it backwards in a crawling position. Therefore, you need to make things safe by keeping objects off the steps, to keep him from tripping and hurting himself. This also means that your toddler will be able to get into places that he could not before.
You have to rethink childproofing since he now can climb to higher places. Your baby can now feed himself with a spoon and even drink by himself. You will find these new skills valuable since they will allow you more freedom at meal times. The improvement in coordination will also mean that you will have less spillages and messes to clean up after a meal.
You will notice that your toddler’s growth is slowing down especially when compared with his first year. While babies grow to twice their birth weight in the first year of life, in the second year they only gain 3 to 5 pounds. He will also be more active, mobile and loose some fat due to this. He now keeps an upright position and moves smoothly, even when carrying objects or running.
Imitation is a real power for toddlers and you have to embrace and take advantage of it. It will allow you to teach him how to dress and undress himself. He will now have his own preferences and will like to choose his own clothes. Do not fuss if he insists that he does not want to wear a particular item, even if you really like it. It is normal for him to develop his own taste and at this age experimenting is important.
Sleeping is essential for cognitive development. You should encourage good sleeping habits by keeping a regular bedtime and rituals like washing the teeth, putting pajamas on and reading a bedtime story. Preferably keep doing these things in the same order so your toddler becomes used to it and knows that the time to sleep is predictably approaching. If he wakes up too early in the morning and his still sleepy, but gets up anyway, try to find if something is waking him up and teach him to let himself back to sleep.
You have to encourage your toddler’s creativity so that this part of his cognition develops correctly. A good way to do this is to provide drawing materials. Buy some toddler friendly crayons or coloring pencils, the kind that does not break easily so there are no choking hazards. He will like drawing random lines or even circles, this means that he is getting better coordination, and visual stimuli integrated with motor skills. His confident scribbling can take the wrong direction though, has he may find the walls a suitable canvas. To avoid this, keep an eye on him while he is drawing and keep the art supplies safely hidden away in the meantime.
From 23 months old his language skills will now start to really develop and you will notice this since he will start using pronouns, forming sentences, and recognizing familiar names. Language skills can be encouraged by teaching your toddler songs, rhymes and reading the same stories over and over again. Even if he is not able to say all the words yet, you will notice that he imitates your tone and pretends to read while making babbling noises. This is the best way for babies to gain language skills. Picture books or cards are a good way to increase his vocabulary.
While reading his favorite story point at the pictures and tell him the names so he starts to associate them. Before you know it he will be able to answer you when you point at them. Bringing in new story books is also good at this point. Broaden your book choices with stories that have pictures of objects he is already familiar with so he can start naming them in the real world. This is possible since by now his cognitive development has reached a point where he can remember things for longer time periods and associate real objects with the depictions of them.
He will start to show more interest in other children and to play with them. In the beginning, he will just try to imitate what other children are doing since his communication skills are still limited. He will also let you in on his play time and you should appreciate it. You should praise good behavior instead of trying to reinforce it. For example, if you show him how to put his toys in a box and see that he does it spontaneously, express that you are proud of him so he associates it with positive feedback. Just be careful not to praise him at the wrong times like only when he stops eating, since he can start refusing to eat just to get that effect from you.
It is normal that your toddler feels anxious when you are not around him. This time will be the hardest of all in dealing with toddler’s separation anxiety. Just remember to keep patient, and try different strategies to manage it. While leaving him with a babysitter or a family member for example, keep the goodbye short and fuss-free. If you make a big deal out of it, your toddler will too. You need to explain what behaviors are inappropriate in public places such as restaurants or supermarkets, he might not get it immediately but he will improve with time.