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On Becoming Pretoddlerwise ~ Parenting Your 12-18 Month Old

You help your son blow out his first birthday candle and Great Aunt Lilly proclaims, “He’s a toddler now!” Not so fast! The period between 12 and 18 months places a child on a one-way bridge to the future. Infancy is a thing of the past, and toddlerhood is straight ahead. A baby still? Not really, but neither is he a toddler; and that is the key to understanding this phase of growth. Take a couple of photos, because the child leaving infancy will not resemble the child entering toddlerhood six months down the road. This is a period of metamorphosis when his potential for learning seems limitless, his budding curiosity unquenchable and his energy level steadily growing.

This is also a period of great exchange: baby food is exchanged for table food; the highchair for booster seat; finger feeding replaced with spoon; babbling sounds will transition to speaking; the first unsteady steps are conquered by strides of confidence, and the list goes on. Moving at a lightening pace and equipped with a mind of his own, your pretoddler is driven towards a new level of independence. Whether you’re ready or not, his natural inclination and challenge of “I do myself” will become increasingly apparent, not to mention frustrating.

The emerging pretoddler is acutely aware of himself, although at 12months of age, he is not fully absorbed in the self-importance of me, myself and I. (Hang on, that blessing of his nature will show up around 20 months of age.) Try taking something away, and a scream of protest is likely. Remove him from a dangerous object, and his curiosity lures him right back. His favorite foods suddenly become not-so-favorite, and in a few months “No!” will become his default word, whether he understands the question or not.

 The natural inclination in pretoddlers towards independence is very strong, yet unpredictable. He is always in motion and not easily restrained, directed or controlled, but he needs to be! Boundaries will be tested, rules will be understood as suggestions, and curiosity will become a force to be reckoned with. How will you meet these unfolding challenges? That is the big question. The answer begins with understanding the various growth transitions of the next 180 days of your pretoddler’s life. With practical clarity, On Becoming Pretoddlerwise will take you through each transition, step by step.