16 Month Old Child Development
Your Growing Baby
Picky Eaters & Cranky Tots
It seems no sooner has your toddler begun solid foods that his eating habits are changing again—and not necessarily for the better! Once content to gobble down peas and carrots, your now-finicky tot might be a food rebel, refusing his veggies and demanding bright orange macaroni and cheese at every meal. In addition, other new mealtime preferences might apply—no foods touching each other on a plate, no help from Dad when it comes to spooning in oatmeal, and only the race car sippy cup will do for apple juice. These new food rules can drive a parent crazy with worry and frustration. You know your toddler needs the proper nutrition to be healthy, but how can you please such a picky palate?
Good news, moms and dads: Studies show that healthy toddlers will eat just what they need for proper growth and development. Your best bet is to provide nutritious options to your fussy eater and allow him the control to choose from these foods at mealtime. (No power struggles necessary!)
Sometime during the second year of life, toddlers assert their independence not just at the dinner table but from the crib too. Your tot might resist a morning snooze (regardless of how tired you are) and be ready to drop his early naptime. Watch for his cues—restlessness at bedtime, waking during the night, and crankiness after naps. You can help make changing from two naps to one smoother for both of you by substituting quiet play for nap time or changing the hour of his remaining naptime. You might even need to implement, temporarily, an early bedtime to get through the transition without too much fussiness.
Health and Safety Info
How to Keep Tots Safe & Rested
Toddlers are curious creatures by nature. Watch them at play—they love to pick up, throw, examine, pull apart, and chew nearly every new and enticing object they come across. Unfortunately, kids this age are sometimes fearless too, and even knowingly test their boundaries. It's all a part of their budding independence; but play can become dangerous if your tot gets into unsafe areas you might have overlooked during babyproofing. It's time to move to the next step: toddler-proofing!
Reconsider your child's growing abilities as you minimize trouble zones in your house, garage, and yard. She's taller now and likely walking well, giving her the ability to get into plenty of mischief. Her muscles are stronger (just watch her climb!) and her fine motor skills improved. And don't discount your kiddo's growing intellect; she's watching you open the refrigerator, twist door knobs, and turn on faucets—and thinking of trying these things herself. It's time to get down on your tot's level and spot the hazards. Under your watchful eye and with the help of some terrific gadgets (gates, latches, locks, and outlet covers, to name a few), you can offer your inquisitive little one a safe area to explore and learn about her world.
All that exploring is bound to make a kid tired. Is your toddler struggling with sleep issues? Reluctance to fall asleep, nightmares, fear of the dark, and irregular bedtimes can all interfere with your child's ability to get the rest crucial for her development (and, let's be honest, for your sanity). If you notice your kiddo is throwing a lot of tantrums, is particularly irritable and easily frustrated, shows increased separation anxiety or is falling asleep at odd times, evaluate your youngster's sleep schedule and talk with her pediatrician for better bedtime solutions.
Healthy Recipes the Whole Family Will Love
You didn't sign up to be a short-order cook the day your baby was born, so how did you get stuck preparing separate meals for your toddler and the rest of your loved ones? Yikes! It's time to pare down dinners to one per night, Mom. Feeding a family isn't always easy, but with thought and preparation you can serve good-for-you meals that please little kids and grown-ups too.
To streamline meal prep, begin with a well-stocked pantry and freezer. Pasta, rice, seafood, chicken, lean meats, and frozen, quick-to-prepare vegetables and fruits are terrific staples to keep on hand because they're so versatile.
If your kiddo loves macaroni and cheese—the mainstay of many toddlers' meals—try changing it up with more sophisticated pasta dishes. A versatile, budget-friendly staple, pasta cooks quickly for a variety of healthy, hearty meals that satisfy not just your 1-year-old's appetite, but yours too.
Other kid-friendly favorites also can be flavorful, healthy, and appealing to both tots and adults. Chicken or fish nuggets can be lightly breaded, seasoned, and baked. Put plenty of fresh veggies on your pizza and low-fat cheese. Delicious! How about fiber-filled bean burritos or quesadillas with roasted vegetables? (If you want an extra kick in your food without burning your child's tongue, serve hot sauce or salsa on the side.) And don't forget about breakfast for dinner. Whole wheat waffles with fruit and a glass of milk can be a tasty—and filling—change of pace from traditional evening meals.
As you prepare meals for your family, keep in mind that you're setting the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating for your child. She loves to do what you do, and if she sees you eating a variety of nutritious foods, she's more likely to join you!