YO U R T O D D L E R ’ S D E V E L O P M E N T
Your baby’s first birthday will be a significant and emotional
milestone for you and may trigger mixed feelings. The past
12 months will have been life changing and it is quite normal
to feel a few pangs as you put away the baby clothes and start
to look forward to your child’s next phase of development.
Your toddler’s development
Becoming more mobile and developing language skills will dominate the
next 1–2 years as your baby leaves infanthood behind and enters the brave
new world of independence and communication.
He will start to experience strong feelings at this age, but will not yet
have the ability to manage them so you will need to help him. The way
you respond to your child over the months ahead will have an influence
on longer-term social development. The emphasis should be on loving,
nurturing, encouraging, and reassuring your child as he crawls, wobbles,
toddles, and tumbles his way to mastering and enjoying his newfound
mobility, and gradually builds a repertoire of skills that allows him to get
about and communicate his needs more effectively.
These early months are vitally important for healthy brain development
(see page 71), and the way your child experiences the world during his
second year of life will have a significant impact on his emotional
development, as well as his learning and thinking skills. Children of this
age need to know that the person who cares for them is emotionally
available, can be trusted, and won’t cause them harm. Incredible though
it may seem, your child is already absorbing emotional messages from
his environment that will contribute substantially to his later social skills
and emotional intelligence.
You will soon need to start putting in place some clear behavioral
guidelines and boundaries, but for the next six months behavior
management revolves more around using distraction techniques. One of
the biggest challenges for you during the next two years is to make sure
to stay calm,