Congratulations, Mum and Dad – you’ve made it through your child’s first year!
By now, you might have started getting used to a routine filled with sleepless nights and relish moments of amazement as you watch your little one grow. Rest assured, things are about to get more exciting as he/she strides ahead towards the toddler years.
With brain development picking up, it is during this time that learning goes into overdrive mode as your child’s ability to learn the social, emotional, behavioural, thinking and communication skills needed for life grows rapidly. To help both of you sail through the toddler years, here are some crucial skills which your child will begin to discover during this time – and what you can do to encourage his/her developments:
At one year old, most children would have uttered their first word and have started using hand gestures to point to things around them. As time goes by, their vocabulary will grow from one or two words to an average of 50 words.
Kids at this age will go through the process of understanding language and figuring out how to communicate. You can help to move things along by interacting with him/her and engage in simple everyday conversations. Your child’s vocabulary will slowly increase over time and by the second half of the year, he/she may start using simple two-word sentences.
As with talking, your child’s understanding of language also improves during this time – you’ll be surprised when you realise how much they understand what you tell them!
2. Play with a Difference
As an infant, your child might have played with toys by shaking, banging or throwing them. Now as a toddler, he/she is aware of the function of various objects and is more likely to do complex actions such as stacking blocks, listening or talking with a toy phone and pushing a toy car.
All these new actions happen as a result of improved hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. When your child gains better control over his/her fingers and hands, he/she will be keen to explore toys and surroundings more than before. You can encourage your child by giving him/her age-appropriate toys and games that challenges his/her abilities.
It is also during this time that your child show interest in pretend play. According to a research carried out by American psychologist Sandra Russ, pretend play comes with a multitude of benefits for children. Apart from allowing them to express both positive and negative feelings in a world of their own, this form of play also teaches them life skills and values such as delayed gratification, problem-solving, empathy and creativity.
As a toddler, your child is bound to go through an emotional roller-coaster as he learns about the various emotions. All about this and more on the next page.