Your Baby's Second Year: What To Expect At Nineteen Months

As your child approaches her nineteenth month, what new emotional and mental developments can you expect from her?

Last month, your child passed a major mile marker by turning one and a half years old. As you look back over the last few months, you may be simply amazed at how quickly your child has developed. Long gone are the days when she would simply coo at you as you fed her or cry when her diaper needed changing. Now she is mobile and communicating with you on a day to day basis, letting you know that she is hungry or tired or excited. As your baby approaches her nineteenth month, what new developments can you expect?

Unfortunately, for a parent, this nineteenth month can be a bit of an emotional challenge. Your child continually seesaws from wanting to be your little baby and acting like a small child to yearning for independence from you and your spouse. One second she may be cuddling with you on the sofa as you read books together and the next second she could be running away from your hugs and kisses. Remember that your child does not hate spending time with you; she simply wants to be a small adult who makes her own decisions and sets her own rules.

Your nineteen month old has started to feed herself at mealtime. Granted, most of the food will end up smeared on the table portion of her highchair and on the surrounding floor and carpet, but she is determined to be independent during mealtime. To help her learn proper table manners, make sure that she eats when the entire family is eating. It may be tempting to feed her before the rest of the family or after the family eats, but it is crucial that you allow your nineteen month old to sit at the table and eat with the family. This will help her feel more integrated with the family as well as teach her how to properly behave when eating.

Her attention span is starting to grow. A few months ago, she would never play with any one toy for more than a few minutes at a time, before she threw it across the room and grabbed another toy. Now, she will focus her attention on one toy for up to thirty minutes at a time, especially if it is an educational toy that she must figure out. Do not be alarmed if, even in the presence of other children her own age, she keeps to herself and plays alone. She is still a little self-centered during this nineteenth month although it won't be long before she realizes she can have more fun hanging out with the other children.

Continue to read to your child every single day while pointing out pictures and concepts from the books. More than likely, your child will have several favorite books that she asks you to read over and over (children love repetition at this age) and she will have memorized different parts of the story. Help her to learn by having her say certain parts of the book. Simply pause for effect and watch as she jumps in with what comes next in the story. As you point out different things in the book, expand on what each thing is. For instance, instead of saying "This is a car," you can say, "Look at the car! The car is what Mama drives every single day to get to work! This car is red!" This will help her to expand her vocabulary much quicker.

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