12 to 18 Months
- What Your Baby Likes: Exploring, pretend play, imitating the "big" people.
- What's Behind the Smiles: Life is good for your baby as he hits his stride with walking, possibly even running. He's exploring everything from the inside of his toy box and the contents of your kitchen cabinets to the leaves and insects in his backyard. He'll like doing favorite activities again and again. He also enjoys imitating what he sees. This might mean holding his play phone to his ear and chatting or giving a baby doll a bottle.
- What You Can Do: Your baby is busier than ever, so give him safe places to explore. He'll love activities where he can make things happen, like running after and popping bubbles that you blow, or using toy musical instruments. Even simple everyday activities can have a fun twist: hold up his arms as you place a shirt over his head and ask, "Where's Billy?"
For his interest in pretend play, provide props such as plastic dishes and a blanket for an impromptu living room picnic. Reverse roles so that he gets to be the parent and you play the child -- you might let him pretend to put you to bed before he goes down, for example. Allow him to "help" you around the house by giving him a washcloth and spray bottle filled with water. Or place an old sock on his hand and let him help you dust. "It's an opportunity for him to feel good and make Mommy happy," Grus says.
Heather Johnson Durocher, a mother of three, is a writer in Traverse City, Michigan.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, December 2006.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.