Month 17 is that time in the life of a toddler when he is busy being curious about everything and is exploring the world around him. Here are some of the 17 month old baby development milestones to watch out for in your child.
In this article:
- Physical Development Milestones
- Cognitive Development Milestones
- Social & Emotional Development Milestones
- Language & Communication Milestones
- Sleep Milestones
- Eating & Feeding Milestones
- What You Can Do As Parents?
- 17 Month Old Toddler Behaviour
- Baby Care for Your 17 Month Old
- When to Be Concerned?
Physical Development Milestones
- Your little toddler will get increasingly steady while walking and will also insist on walking independently.
- Can stop, bend over, pick up an object, stand up and continue walking.
- Will experiment climbing on furniture, bed or any high platform.
- You can kind of figure out which of his hands is likely to become his dominant one.
- Would sneak out of bed all by himself and come to you.
- May sometimes use his whole arm, not just his wrist and fingers, while colouring or painting.
- Will try climbing stairs either by walking up or even kneeling, and will hold either the rail or the side of the wall to support himself.
- Will try opening bottle caps. Can turn and twist knobs and taps.
Cognitive Development Milestones
- Your child will be able to identify more people by name. Will clearly be able to distinguish between those who are close to him and strangers. He will also know who are your neighbours, friends and those who visit you often.
- Knows the names of parts of the body and can point it on people and even toy animals.
- May be able to nest several small cups or containers into one another.
- May sometimes take a little time to interact and make friends with other kids.
- Will be fascinated with the simplest of things. For instance, he will keenly observe the way you chop vegetables or fill a glass of water.
- Can follow your gaze across a distance and find out what you are looking at.
Social & Emotional Development Milestones
- During this phase, your little one will be exploring new relationships to play and interact with.
- He has learned the art of communicating how he is feeling, be it happiness, sorrow, excitement, fear or anger.
- Your child will be quite possessive about you and may sometimes experience separation anxiety.
- May rarely get physical like hitting and biting, but only when he is stretched beyond his limits. It is a behaviour that almost all kids demonstrate.
- Will compete for what he wants and may resort to snatching, hitting, pushing, shoving, or even biting to get it.
- May have few favourite songs and will sometimes even groove to it.
- Could help you with few basic household chores, like putting clothes into or taking out of the washing machine, clear toys from the floor and put them in a basket, wipe the floor of a spill, etc.
- May try to model adults around him and follow basic manners like saying “please” or “thank you”.
- May come running to you to show his bumps or scrapes after a fall.
Language & Communication Milestones
This is a phase when toddlers explore the spoken language further and try to start saying new words (other than the 6 or 8 they already know, which includes ‘mama’ and ‘dada’). They of course won’t get most of the words right, as they are still toddlers after all.
The best part about this phase is that he will learn the new words at a much faster pace and will understand 6 to 8 times more words than he can speak.
Your tiny toddler should get around 14 hours of sleep every day, with about a couple of hours’ nap during midday or in the afternoon.
Be prepared for some challenges, as around the 18th month, toddlers usually go through what is called as Sleep Regression. This could create a shift in your child’s sleep pattern, due to which he may wake up often at night and may have a hard time going back to sleep.
Eating & Feeding Milestones
- Can drink from an open cup independently without assistance.
- Will be able to feed himself with his hand or a spoon. He may spill a little sometimes but will be able to feed himself stomach full.
- Has a better capacity to digest food.
Providing him with nutritionally balanced food on a daily basis is what can keep him going actively and growing healthily. Having said, you will often face challenges feeding your child as he is almost always too engrossed in his activities and doesn’t want to get interrupted.
What You Can Do As Parents?
- Use short sentences and talk clearly with your toddler. This way, he can understand and comprehend the words better and learn faster.
- If he’s got any favourite book/s, make the most of it. Read the book to him repeatedly, as it helps him identify patterns and learn new words faster.
- Try putting him to bed at the same time every day. Sticking to a routine not only makes him aware of what to expect, it also gives him little scope to throw tantrums.
- Always look out for signs if your little one is hungry, tired or sleepy.
- Encourage him to walk or even climb stairs, especially barefoot. It develops his balance and strength.
- Always try to get creative at ways to distract him in an instant, especially when he throws tantrums.
17 Month Old Toddler Behaviour
Starting around this time, you will see your toddler making more of his own small decisions and taking less of your instructions. This is normal and is a part of his growth and development process.
It therefore becomes important that you give him the space to take his little decisions, so that he can explore and figure out his way through things rather than always depending on your instructions. Having said, you will have to sometimes intervene but only if you see him in an unsafe space or if he is struggling with something.
There are times when your toddler may go out of control and it could get very difficult to get him listen to you. These are behaviours generally considered normal in a toddler’s growing up phase.
Instead of reacting during such situations, it is important that you respond, keeping your emotions in control and exercising patience. Getting angry and losing your cool, as you already know, will only make things worse.
Do not force your instructions on your child. Rather allow him to make little decisions and intervene only when you think his (baby) decisions are not safe.
Baby Care for Your 17 Month Old Toddler
- Make sure your little one gets his full 14 hours of sleep every day.
- Give your child smaller portions of food across the day.
- When it comes to your 17 month toddler’s eating habits, you will have to take care of his nutritional needs wisely, as this is an age when your child is a bundle of energy who is growing not just physically but also cognitively and emotionally.
- Assist him whenever he is walking up the stairs by holding one of his hands as he uses the other.
- Ensure that all medicines and cleaning liquids/chemicals are kept out of his reach.
- As much as possible, always use only the backburners while cooking and keep the handles of pans away from you (towards the wall/to the farther end).
- Child-proof your home by padding sharp corners of shelves and cupboards. Critical of all, fit baby safety cover for all the plug points.
- If he comes sobbing to you after a small injury, it is basically for your love and attention in the form of hugs and kisses. So hug him and plant some kisses on the bumps or scrapes he had and tell him he’s fine already. That’s all your sweet little one needs.
When to Be Concerned?
- Unable to balance properly while walking and trips very often.
- Doesn’t try or is unable to eat with his fingers and/or hold a spoon.
- Unable to utter even one or two words clearly (apart from ‘mama’ and ‘dada’).
- Doesn’t try or is unable to climb furniture or stairs.
- Seldom expresses his emotions, be it excitement, joy, anger or frustration.
At 17 months, your toddler must be brimming with activity all over the place, therefore keeping you on your toes almost throughout the day.
While this could of course be frustrating for you, interestingly, it is during this very phase the foundations for your child to grow socially and emotionally is being laid; foundations on which he will grow into an adult and thrive – soon.
This means that it is just a matter of time when sometime in time in the near future, you will look back at these days and tell yourself that all the challenges you’d been through were more than worth it.
Note: Each baby is different and therefore tends to grow at a different pace. Chances are that your little one may have crossed certain milestones already, or is probably a little behind on a few others, which is normal. If you still feel there is something of concern, do speak to your paediatrician/registered professional child healthcare provider.