Baby Calendar Month 13
Baby's favorite word now is one he is not likely to utter himself. It's his own name. Babies at 13 months not only recognize their name being said by you, but by others as well and can be distracted by the utterance.
Her own vocabulary likely consists of Mama, Dada and a few other words. These words may not be the actual full word for the object referred to but mostly likely you'll learn to recognize the intended word by the context of the situation, such as "ba-ba" for bottle or "goggy" for dog.
Baby may also combine gestures and syllables to communicate with you now, such as "mmm" and reaching toward frig to let you know it's meal time. However, you need to rely less on gestures to communicate desires to your little one. Many short commands will be understood, and perhaps even obeyed, now by your child. Phrases like, "Give me the ball," or "Put down your cup please," can be increasingly comprehended by your toddler.
Since baby's focus has likely shifted from fine motor skills to gross ones, engage your little one in games he'll enjoy such as a rousing game of hide and seek. This game will likely lead to giggles and squeals galore and the opportunity to run, stop, bend, and discover fun new hiding spots. Playing any type of game where baby gets to hand you objects, and then you give them back will please your child greatly. Vary the game by using different sized or textured objects and handing more than one at a time to your child.
Another fun game to use baby's large motor skills is playing ball. Roll a ball back and forth with baby and you'll be impressed by how much improvement you'll see over the weeks. Baby will get better at aiming and retrieving. This game also helps your child with her balance, too.
Babies should be weaned from the bottle to a cup by their first birthdays, and the switch from formula to cow's milk should be underway. During meal times, offer milk or a milk/formula mixture if you are still in the midst of a switch-over, only from a cup. Drop the bottle from the daily routine one feeding at a time. The bedtime bottle should be the last to go, but make certain baby doesn't go to sleep with the bottle in his mouth as this can lead to cavities. Instead, give the bottle and then take it away and rub baby's back or read a good night story or some other soothing bedtime ritual to end the evening together.
Remember improper use of a cup can also lead to tooth-decay such as allowing baby to fall asleep with it or by allowing toddlers to carry it around through the day.
You might not realize that children should see the dentist for the first time around their first birthdays. The reason is Early Childhood Caries. Basically, once anything besides breastmilk is introduced into baby's diet, the risk for cavities begins. Early dental visits ensures healthy teeth and preventative care can head off serious problems before they have a chance to develop. Prepare baby by taking him or her to parent's or older sibling's dental visits. Let baby bring a special stuffed friend or blankie to make the child feel more at ease. Consider taking your child to a pediatric dentist who specializes in small patients and is specially trained to deal with younger children.
Tips for Mom and Dad
Around the toddler years, it's not unusual to find a large ink or crayon mural on your wall, refrigerator or floor. Small children prefer bigger canvasses it seems. Get some larger sheets of plain newsprint and let your toddler go wild with crayons or (washable) markers. Get a variety, including some chunky ones for little hands to grip easily.
Talk to your toddler about the colors and shapes that you see in their artwork. Play music while they draw to add another element to the artistic pursuits. You can also introduce finger paints to your toddler. Letting children play with different textures, colors and surfaces will give them a positive outlet for their creativity besides graffiti projects on your walls.
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