19-Month-Old: Talkative and Creative

This month, your 19-month-old toddler may have a lot to say, delighting you with her ever expanding vocabulary. Some of those cute made-up words from a few weeks or months ago may soon be replaced with properly pronounced words that will melt your heart.

This month, continue to nurture your child’s creativity, and take every opportunity to dance, sing, and play together. Your little one is growing up so quickly—it’s almost hard to keep up. Read on to discover what else this month might hold for you and your toddler.

Toddler Development Milestones

As you may have noticed, your toddler might reach certain development milestones a little earlier or later than other children of a similar age. Each toddler is unique and learns and grows at her own pace.

For this reason, these are just some examples of what your little one may get up to at around 19 months:

  • May say several words. Your toddler may be able to say many simple words, such as those for her favorite toys, people, and parts of the body. Keep in mind that boys typically take longer to master language skills compared to girls. In the beginning, you might be the only one who understands your toddler’s made-up words, but with your patient correct pronunciation in response, she’ll soon learn to say these words correctly.
  • Expands her vocabulary. Over time, your toddler may understand and use an increasing number of words. Help build her vocabulary by repeating words and verbalizing her activities, as well as by having conversations together. So, for example, if your toddler motions for you to come play with her, you can say “You’d like me to come play with you? Show me what you’re doing!”
  • May use one hand more than the other. Around this time your toddler may show a preference for using her right hand over her left, or vice versa. But this doesn’t mean that she is definitely going to be right-handed or left-handed. The development of a dominant hand usually happens over the course of several years. Your child may even be ambidextrous, able to use both hands equally well.

How to Support Your 19-Month-Old’s Development

Here’s how you can support your 19-month-old’s development at home:

  • If you speak a foreign language, use it. If your family is bilingual, use both languages with your toddler. You'll help forge a connection to these cultures as well as fostering language skills. And don’t worry if your child mixes both languages, as it’s completely expected. Eventually she’ll know to separate them.
  • Encourage creativity. Around this time, your toddler may find an interest in scribbling—whether it’s on paper or maybe even on other things! Encourage her creativity by providing her with markers, crayons, or colored pencils and lots of paper to fill up with artwork. It may be a good idea to keep the art supplies tucked away when not in use to prevent her from drawing on the walls and other places.
  • Make bath time fun Give your toddler some objects to play with in the tub, such as squeeze toys, floating animals and boats, and plastic cups she can use to fill with water and splash around. Just remember never to leave your toddler unattended during a bath.
  • Dance and sing with your little one. Take every opportunity to combine music and movement. For example, make up a little song when you’re dressing her, or play some music for an impromptu dance party. These moments can help you bond with your little one as well as boost her development.
  • Limit screen time. Your toddler may want to watch TV or play a video game especially after seeing an older peer or sibling do so, but it’s important to limit your toddler’s screen time, as too much passive viewing at this age can delay cognitive development. Instead, encourage unplugged, active play as much as possible.
  • Read and reread. Does your 19-month-old have a favorite book she wants to hear again and again? This is her busy brain at work, so go ahead and keep reading what she wants. Ask her some questions about the story as you go along, such as "Do you know what the bear will do next?" Feel free to add gestures and sound effects, too. Before long, she'll be "reading" the words along with you!

Mealtimes and Menus for Your 19-Month-Old

Don’t be surprised if your 19-month-old is picky and refuses to eat certain foods one minute, and then turns around and eats everything in sight the next. You might even find your toddler rejects a food she happily ate just a few days ago.

Keep offering three small meals and at least two snacks per day. If your little one skips a meal or a snack, that’s OK. Your toddler’s diet will balance out over the span of a few days, as long as you provide a variety of nutritious foods to choose from. Let your little one pick what and how much to eat, and make sure that she eats when sitting down, as eating while running around can lead to choking.

You can also use mealtimes to begin teaching good table manners. Teach her that she shouldn’t eat with her mouth open, and to finish chewing and swallowing her food before speaking.

Also, show her how to properly use a spoon and fork, and have her practice as much as possible. It’s OK if she fumbles with her spoon or fork in the beginning, and accidentally flings food everywhere—it’s a learning experience for her. With time she’ll master using these utensils.

Watch Out for Food Allergies

As your child tries all kinds of new foods, you may concerned about a food allergy developing, especially if allergies run in your family.

Luckily, food allergies are relatively rare in young children, occurring in less than 8 percent of children under 3 years of age. Still, it’s important to know what signs to look for, just in case. Here are some of the signs of a food allergy:

  • Skin problems that may include hives, rashes, and swelling
  • Breathing problems that may include sneezing, wheezing, or tightness in the throat
  • Stomach symptoms that may include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Circulation problems that can lead to pale skin, light-headedness, or loss of consciousness.

Foods that may cause allergic reactions include:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts and tree nuts
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Fish and shellfish.

Sometimes children don't have a true food allergy but instead have a food intolerance or food sensitivity, which is much more common. A number of children have what's called a lactose intolerance, meaning that they have trouble digesting the natural sugars found in dairy products like milk. This can lead to symptoms such as bloating, stomachaches, and loose stools.

Consult your child’s healthcare provider if you suspect your child may have an allergy or an intolerance. The provider will be able to diagnose a food allergy or intolerance by running some tests. In some cases, you may be referred to an allergist, who may be able to help with a treatment plan.

19-Month-Old Toddler Sleep Schedule

At 19 months old, your toddler needs about 12 to 14 hours of sleep per day, which includes at least 1 nap, too.

If your toddler is having some sleep problems such as resisting going to bed, waking during the night, or experiencing nightmares, it might help to review your bedtime routine.

Tips for Better Quality Sleep

Take a look at these ideas to see if any might help your toddler have better quality sleep:

  • Aim to have your toddler go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning
  • Stick to a consistent naptime schedule
  • Implement a bedtime routine for at least 30 minutes before bedtime. This can include giving your toddler a bath, reading her a book, and singing her a soothing lullaby. Let her pick the book she wants to read or the song she’d like to sing.
  • Let her have a security object, like a favorite stuffed animal or a blankie, when she goes to bed. This can help with night awakenings, as the object can provide a sense of security and might help her self-soothe and fall back to sleep.
  • Ensure that your child’s bedroom is quiet and comfortable. Your child may like the door left slightly open to allow some light in or to have a night-light.
  • When putting your toddler in her crib, make sure she is in a sleepy but awake state, which can help her associate this feeling with going to sleep.

If sleep problems persist, be sure to reach out to your child's healthcare provider for guidance.

A Day in the Life of Your Toddler

Wondering what a typical day might look like with a toddler? No two days will ever be the same, but here’s a quick look at what a day might look like:

Your Toddler’s Health and Safety: Planning Your Toddler’s Activities

Whether its building with toy blocks or throwing a ball, play is crucial for your toddler. It's through play that he learns and develops in so many ways.

Each of his movements, small and large, are steps toward developing better coordination, muscle control, balance, and much more. Encourage your toddler to stay active by being an active participant in his play, such as playing with a ball or playing catch with you.

Experts recommend that toddlers get at least 30 minutes a day of structured physical activity led by you or another adult, such as playing catch, along with at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity where your toddler can do as he pleases, such as running around in the backyard. Of course, you’ll want to supervise all of his activities.

This may sound like a lot of activity, but this mix of structured and unstructured play along with rest in between all contributes to your child’s happy and healthy development.

Your Life as a Parent: Scheduling “Me Time” and Creating Support Networks

Life can get super busy and chaotic when you're raising a 19-month-old. To help cope with everything that comes your way, it’s important to look after yourself, too.

Taking care of a toddler takes a lot of energy and can quickly tire you out. You’ll know when you’re tired, and so will your toddler. In these moments, it’s OK to reach out to see if your partner, a family member, or a babysitter can take over for an hour or two. Some “me time” to do something just for you will give you the chance to recharge your batteries.

To prevent feeling isolated, you could attend story time with your child at the local library or community center. Or you could meet up with friends and their children at the playground or park, or get together with parents from your little one’s daycare to share stories and tips.

Creating a network of supportive parents means you’ll have someone to talk to in a similar situation to yours, and this may help relieve some of the stress or anxiety you might be feeling as you juggle all of parenting’s ups and downs.

Monthly milestones

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