Baby Calendar Month 20|13, May 2011Toddler Development
Your 20-month old is developing more attention to small details. You can help further this development by reading books and asking your child to find some objects in the illustrations or to point to an object mentioned in the text. Plus, your toddler enjoys pointing with those chubby fingers, anyways.
Further challenge your toddler with chunky, simple jigsaw puzzles. Those with only a few pieces are best, and those with pegs to grasp lead to less frustration as well. You can also make your own simple versions by cutting apart a brightly colored picture from a magazine or a coloring book picture you two have completed. Cut the picture into only a few pieces and let your child move the pieces around in various configurations, until you help guide his hands to place the pieces in proper order. This activity interests and enhances your child's development. She enjoys seeing how the pieces make up the whole and finds it entertaining when things are out of order, at least temporarily. You could also cut out a few different pictures of animals or people into three big sections, a top, middle and bottom then swap one piece out from the bear with the turtle, for instance, and let your toddler find the process silly and giggle-inducing.
Your child is probably gaining better bladder control at this age, although the maturity level varies greatly among toddlers even the same age. You may want to start the potty conversations and bring home a new little potty for your child to become acquainted with. Never pressure a child to use the potty before they are psychologically and physically ready, though.
Toddlers need about 1000 to 1200 calories a day, but many have a difficult time getting that many into their diet because they are too busy or finicky to take in that much food. Snacking can be an excellent way to sneak in those calories. Some healthy snacks that your toddler may be tempted by include a variety of fresh fruits, especially when cut into small, and therefore less overwhelming chunks, veggie sticks with a light ranch dip, whole grain cereal with low sugar content, yogurt, raisins, crackers with cheese slices and muffins with honey or peanut butter. Limit the juice and opt for some ice water or milk.
One health issue affecting toddlers is lead exposure. Toddlers are at especially high risk due to the fact that they frequently put their hands or objects into their mouths. Symptoms of lead exposure include anemia, lethargy or fatigue, learning problems, growth delays, nervous system issues, behavioral problems, hearing difficulties, speech problems, kidney ailments and brain damage. To check for lead exposure, a simple blood test can be done. To prevent possible lead exposure keep your home mopped and cleaned, keep old toys away from children and check new toys especially imported ones on lists of recalls, don't use pottery that has a lead glaze, use filtered water and keep children away from peeling paint, and have your home tested for lead.
Tips for Mom and Dad
While you may find it easy to focus on your child's speech and language skills, don't forget to help your child with their listening skills as well. You can enhance these skills by playing listening games like taking a walk and stopping to close your eyes and name the things you can hear such as a car driving by, birds singing, an alarm going off, a sprinkler dripping, a dog barking and so on. Read rhyming books to your toddler and teach her some basic familiar kids finger plays like the Itsy, Bitsy Spider. Give your child two part commands such as go get your doll and feed her. Or you can ask more questions particularly those which require a choice among options, which requires your child to listen closely. Vocalized speech and listening skills go hand in hand.
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