Growth and development at 16 months old
Your toddler will be able to play with blocks this month and build a tower of 3 to 4 on top of each other. They’ll practice the same repetitive game over and over and then delight in them all crashing to the floor. Watch them as they copy your actions and mimic your behavior. Sweeping the floor, using a towel, and opening the fridge will all be seen as wonderful games by your little one. You’ll hear yourself replicated in their voice and, although they won’t be able to speak clearly yet, the pitch and rhythm of your tone will be mimicked.
Don’t be alarmed if your toddler has flat feet. This is completely normal in the toddler years, and it won’t be until they are around 4 years of age that the arches in their feet develop. Likewise, their hands may still look very small with short, plump fingers. With time, your toddler’s bones will grow and their muscles, ligaments, joints, and body shape will change considerably. How they appear now is not a snapshot of their final appearance when they have matured fully.
Play and interaction at 16 months old
Go to the park when you can and encourage your toddler to climb on the age-appropriate equipment. Watch your own reactions to their explorations and be encouraging. Show them how to safely scale the ladders, swings, and equipment, and do some exploring with them. Your 16-month-old will love it when you become involved in their games.
Aim to rotate your toddler’s toys to keep them interested in the novelty of something new. Your toddler will have a very short memory of the toys as the saying out of sight out of mind must have been written for a 16-month-old. Avoid thinking the more money you spend, the more fun the toy will be.
Toddlers make their own games and are attracted to anything bright that fosters their imagination. Look for toys which have lots of color and noise, and ones that they can interact with in some way. Some toddlers develop a deep affection for quite unusual household items, particularly those made of soft and cozy materials. This is all part of being a toddler.
What you can expect at 16 months old
Your toddler’s concept of time still needs to develop so they won’t appreciate it when you are in a hurry or just want to get something done. They’re on their own time frame which means there will be some battles of will sometimes. Allow for some interesting moments when they can dress themselves or do something which would only take you a minute. Aim to look for a compromise and give them some control and autonomy over one area of the job, and then you do the rest. Praise your toddler when they achieve a task. Giving a toddler attention and positive feedback is as vital to them as food—they will thrive on it, so don’t be frugal when it comes to telling them they’ve done a great job! They will want to please you and make you happy.
Food and nutrition at 16 months old
Keep taking food with you whenever you go out and remember your toddler has a small stomach. They will need to eat every couple of hours to satisfy their hunger and to help avoid mood swings. Processed cereals, fruit bars, packaged biscuits and processed snack foods are less healthy alternatives to simple foods which still bear some resemblance to their original state. Fresh fruit cut up into small pieces, sandwiches, cheese, and crackers are all healthy choices.
Keeping your toddler healthy at 16 months old
- If your 16-month-old is still waking during the night, think about your own responses to them. A short, brief period of reassurance is fine; any more is being a little generous.
- It is still too early to think about toilet training your toddler yet, no matter what other adults may tell you. Wait until closer to 2 years of age before you start this process. Save yourself and your toddler unnecessary stress and tension. They are simply too young at this age.
- Expect big messes when there is water and dirt around. Your toddler will be drawn to dirt like a magnet. Be realistic about the clothing they wear and don’t expect them to have any respect for special clothing. Dress them a minute before you leave the house if you want them to stay clean and tidy.
- Have a supply of special treats just for you and your partner to eat when your toddler goes to bed at night. You deserve some positive rewards for the hard work you’re investing in parenting during these busy months.
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.