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Toddler Care: Your 14 Month Old Toddler

Feb 27, 2022 | 2 Minutes Read

Busy is the word to describe the average 14-month-old toddler, which means you will be, too. If you have older children, they will be involved in entertaining your toddler by playing games and trying different activities. But don’t expect them to always play happily together. This age group is very ego-centric, which means they believe the world and everyone in it is just for them. When you’re 14-months-old there is really no need to think about how anyone else may be feeling. Sharing toys, waiting their turn, or being considerate are all social skills which will develop with time, but for now are still a long way off.

Parenting your toddler will be different from how you parent your older children. You will still need to monitor them very closely and predict their needs. Their verbal skills will be immature, so most of their communication will be through body language, basic words and sounds, and their actions. Make a point of having a home that is steeped in conversation and language. Talk to your 14-month-old as you go about your activities and involve them as much as you can. Although this may slow you down, it will mean your toddler has the benefit of learning how actions link with speech and how tasks are achieved.

Growth and development at 14 months old

It is likely your toddler is up and walking by now, but don’t be concerned if they still revert to crawling at times. You may want to get your toddler their first pair of shoes for when they are walking outside. Look for shoes with a soft and flexible sole which support their feet comfortably. Soft slip-ons are ideal, especially if they have some grip on the soles. However, the ideal is to not use any footwear and to allow your toddler to have bare feet most of the time. This will help their balance and coordination as they learn what is involved in stepping and transferring their weight onto different parts of their feet and toes.

Your toddler may have a little potbelly at this age—a normal characteristic through these early years. The normal appearance of this age group is longer in the body, having a protuberant tummy, a small bottom, and bowlegs. Don’t worry if their proportions seem off. As their bones lengthen and their body matures, their shape will change immensely. You also may notice, even at this early stage, how much they look like you or your partner.

If your toddler has little to no hair, then this is typically the age when it starts to grow faster. Fine, light-colored hair can take longer to appear than darker colors. Some toddlers have had their first hair cut by now which can elicit some strong emotions, especially for mothers. It can be one of the first signs their little baby is growing up. Remember to keep some of their baby hair as a keepsake and store it somewhere safe.

Play and interaction at 14 months old

This is a fun age where your toddler will seek to engage others. They are likely to do something once, and if it raises a smile or laugh from others, then they’ll do it again and again. The concepts of patterns, repetition, cause and effect, and expectation will all start at this early age. Even if you find their little games a little tedious, stay involved and show enthusiasm as you play.

Read to your toddler every day and let them see you reading too. Take them to the library and search for books together. Secondhand stores and garage sales are both great sources for inexpensive children’s books. Aim to have a home where reading is a normal everyday part of your lives. Children who grow up immersed in language and books are well prepared for the early years of school.

What you can expect at 14 months old

Perhaps some early tantrums have emerged as your 14-month-old learns what they can and cannot control. Stay calm and consistent and do not see their protests as a deliberate attempt to upset you. You will be learning, along with them, about what is important and what isn’t. Try to match your actions with your words and set boundaries as needed to keep your baby safe. Your toddler will thrive on routine and structure and grow strong in an environment where they know who will meet their primary needs.

Some days you will find parenting straightforward and easy, and other days will be more of a challenge. This is a time of discovery and growing autonomy for your toddler; they will need to push familiar boundaries so they can learn about new things. This will inevitably lead to some interesting moments as they want to play with something or go somewhere you know they cannot go. Remember that your job is not to always keep your toddler happy, but to keep them safe. It is okay to set boundaries and your job to keep control. You also need to ensure they have an environment that will supply them with everything they need to grow and thrive. There will be times when you need to remind yourself that although your toddler knows what they want, you know what they need.

Food and nutrition at 14 months old

The highchair will become one of the most used pieces of furniture in your house for the next few years. Make sure to always strap your toddler in. This is the age of climbing and toddlers can be very quick when they want to get out. Make a point of placing the chair beside the table where everyone else eats. During meals, turn off the television, put away other electronic devices, and talk to each other. Mealtimes should be about feeding the brain, as well as the body.

This is the age where independent eating is very important so if you are still spooning your toddler’s food into their mouth, consider stopping. Unless they have a developmental issue, they will be able to control what they eat and when they need to stop because they are full. Expect your 14-month-old to want to eat from your plate as well as their own! Try to offer them food from a wide variety of sources, even if they aren’t interested at first.

Toddlers often need to try a new food 10 to 20 times before they will accept it. Fear of the unknown and being cautious of anything new is developmentally appropriate.

Keeping your toddler healthy at 14 months old

You may wonder why your toddler is so picky with food, but when it comes to dirt and other items from the ground, anything goes! Your 14-month-old toddler is literally learning about the world through all their senses, including their sense of taste. Try not to be too obsessive when it comes to insulating them from the environment. Their immune system is designed to cope with thousands of microbes every day. But it is important to remember that fertilizers, pesticides, lead, animal waste, and other contaminants can linger in soil for many years and could pose a risk to small children.

You may find your toddler has their first cold around now. Colds are common in the toddler and preschool years, simply because young children have not had the opportunity to build up any resistance yet to them. There is no treatment other than symptomatic relief and lots of hugs. If your toddler refuses to eat or drink, is not peeing, develops an elevated temperature, has a cough, or has trouble breathing, you will need to have them seen by their healthcare provider.

Watch your toddler around the family dog, even if they are familiar with each other. Dogs can be unpredictable and should never be left alone or unsupervised with young children. Don’t expect your 14-month-old to know how to be gentle with the family pet. Learning how to hold, stroke, and care for animals are all skills that need a certain level of cognitive ability which your toddler does not yet have.

General tips

  • Brush your toddler’s teeth twice a day. A small-headed, soft toothbrush with water and a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice is recommended.
  • Expect your 14-month-old to need one nap a day. If they are still sleeping in the later afternoon, this may impact on their nighttime bedtime routine. Plan for your toddler’s nap when you are organizing your day and prioritize this time. Grumpy and tired toddlers are not fun to be around and when their body and brain become overtired, it can make matters worse.
  • Expect lots of changes of clothes at this age as your toddler explores every pile of dirt. Have a good supply of play clothes which will stand up to the wear and tear of everyday use and frequent washing.
  • Sun protection, sunscreen, and sunglasses for this age are a must. A broad-brimmed hat and sunscreen for any outside play is essential. Restrict outside play to before 10AM and after 3PM and try to stay in the shade. Make sure you protect your own skin too and role model sensible sun precautions.
  • Try not to be seen as the expert parent by your partner and aim to share in the care and nurturing of your toddler. Both boys and girls learn important nurturing skills when they are provided equally by their father and mother. If you are a single parent, aim to look for appropriately caring, suitable, and safe role models for your son or daughter to learn from.
  • Don’t think about moving your toddler into a full size or toddler bed just yet. Although they may look like they are getting a little big for their crib, a big kid bed is still in the future. Cribs have the advantage of containing an active toddler who is too young to understand what’s involved in staying on a bed.

  • The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.