Your toddlers physical development 1-2 yearsYour toddler’s second year is an exciting time of adventure and fun as they become more mobile and independent. They’ll be growing so quickly and learning new skills every day, and it can be hard to keep up! We’ve shared some of the milestones you can expect below, along with some healthy advice about giving your toddler the right balance of foods for this energetic, lively and fun-filled time. If you ever want to talk to our advisors about any aspect of toddler feeding, give us a call.
Let’s get physical!Your toddler is growing bigger and taller by the day and starting to look more and more grown up. Their hand-eye coordination is continually improving too, helping them get to grips with feeding themselves with a spoon and fork, although there are bound to be some spills for a while to come. This new skill also helps them build bigger towers and scribble even wilder pictures - both great activities to do together.
Physical funThere are so many games to play that will help your toddler develop. Here are a few of our favourites:
• Hand prints – your budding artist will love squishing their hands about in paint and seeing the results on paper. It helps improve their coordination too.
• Music time – toddlers enjoy making a noise and you can help their muscles develop by giving them a wooden spoon to bang some upturned pots and pans with.
• Horsing around – help them develop balance and strength by bouncing your little show jumper up and down on your knee for brilliant, giggly fun!
Walking the walkMost mums can’t wait for their baby or toddler to take their first steps, and it’s an amazing moment when they do. Look out for signs such as bear-crawling (with straight legs and bottom in the air) or holding on to furniture and ‘cruising’ around the room.
Although some babies start toddling as early as 9 months, many are still a little unsteady on their feet until around 14-15 months, and some don't get the hang of walking until 18 months or later. If your toddler was later at other physical milestones, like rolling over or crawling, the chances are they will take a little longer to walk too. Every toddler is different, and research shows that late starters always catch up, and there’s no link between early walking and intelligence.
Whenever those first, wobbly steps happen, they are a joy to watch and your toddler probably won’t need much encouragement to keep practising. It’s recommended that toddlers have around 3 hours of exercise each day, so once they’re fairly steady, you can let them walk alongside you, holding your hand or the side of the stroller. It might take a while to get anywhere but it’s a great way to burn off some of that boundless energy.
One step at a timeSome toddlers are naturally adventurous and want to start running as soon as they get on their feet. Others are more cautious and may need a little reassurance to persuade them to try something new. But with you on hand to show them it’s okay, they’ll soon take on bigger challenges like walking up stairs or climbing up onto the sofa.
While they’re concentrating on walking, other skills like talking may take a back seat. But don’t worry, as soon as they can walk the walk they’ll be focusing on talking the talk.
Getting out and aboutOne of the joys of this stage is going on trips and outings with your toddler, so grab a picnic and off you go!
• The farm – toddlers love the sights, sounds and smells of the farm. Many farms are open to the public and offer loads of activities for energetic young farmers.
• The zoo – all the different animals will amaze your toddler, and because zoos are very family-friendly they make a fun day out for everyone.
• The library – your local library makes a great rainy day (or any day) outing. Most will offer story-time sessions, colouring and crafts, as well as lots of brilliant books of course!
Tiny steps work up a big appetite
Your growing toddler needs some mighty meals to help them get all the nutrients they need throughout their action-packed days. Even though their appetite is growing, they’re not quite ready for grown-up food yet and need a toddler-friendly diet that suits their little bodies.
Calcium is essential for strong, healthy bones, and vitamin D is important in helping them absorb all of that calcium. Omega-3 and 6 fats are important for healthy growth and development, while iron is important for brain development.
Here are a few yummy foods that contain these essential nutrients:
- Calcium – milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products.
- Vitamin D – oily fish, eggs, liver and fortified cereals.
- Omega 3 & 6 – oils, oily fish, eggs and avocado.
- Iron – liver, red meat, pulses, eggs and green leafy vegetables.
And to keep their energy levels steady, slow energy release foods like lentil dhal, bananas and porridge are great additions to the menu. For more ideas and inspiration, our toddler feeding articles are a great place to start.