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  • What Should I Be Teaching My 14-Month-Old? Here Are 5 Pedia-Approved Tips

    These will help your child reach the developmental milestones.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
What Should I Be Teaching My 14-Month-Old? Here Are 5 Pedia-Approved Tips
PHOTO BY Freepik/pch.vector
  • At 14 months old, you'll notice that your child's language skills are improving. She can now express herself through words she's trying to pronounce and understand more what she's being told (this is called receptive language). You may wonder, "What should I be teaching my 14-month-old?"

    Using these skills, says pediatrician Dr. Joey Cuayo-Estanislao, your child starts to follow simple instructions, such as "Get that ball." That's because your little one's cognitive and motor skills are improving, too. At the same time, she's starting to test boundaries and seek independence.

    Dr. Cuayo-Estanislao, a member of the Smart Parenting Board of Experts reminds that each child has her own pace in reaching the developmental milestones expected on her age. Thus it's best to always consult your child's pediatrician. (Read here the developmental milestones checklist.)

    14-month-old milestones

    Here's what toddlers of this age group can typically do, based on the guidelines of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):


    1. Social/emotional milestones

    • Playing games, such as pat-a-cake

    2. Language/communication milestones

    • Waving to say goodbye
    • Calling parents as "mama," "dada," or other special names the child uses
    • Understanding what "no" means, like the child would stop doing whatever she's told

    3. Cognitive milestones, including learning, thinking, and problem-solving

    • Putting things, such as building blocks, into bins
    • Looking for things that are hidden from the child

    4. Movement/physical development milestones

    • Standing up with assistance
    • Walking while holding onto furniture
    • Holding a glass or cup without a lid
    • Picking up objects, such as food bits, using the thumb and pointer finger

    Your toddler may also do the following:

    • Embrace you
    • Point to parts of the body, her favorite toys, or to those people familiar to her when told so
    • Drink from a glass or cup, but usually with spills
    • Use the spoon
    • Raise arms when you're dressing her up
    • Hold crayons, and maybe use them to draw when you teach her
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    Your toddler may also start eating by herself. She can chew her food well, that's why she can join you at the dinner table. If you're breastfeeding, you're encouraged to continue based on the recommendation of UNICEF. (Read here the benefits of extended breastfeeding.)

    Activities you can do with your toddler

    As for the question, "What should I be teaching my 14-month-old?" here are the recommendations of Dr. Cuayo-Estanislao:

    1. You can already start encouraging your child to take more steps independently, if they are not yet quite able to walk well. You can do this by having your little one walk between you and a sturdy low stool or chair that they can easily hold on to, then increasing the distance between you and the stool, as baby becomes more steady and stable with their steps.

    Just a reminder: pediatricians "strongly discourage" using infant walkers. "Not only do walkers have a tendency to delay independent walking," Dr. Cuayo-Estanislao points out, as these don't aid your toddler, contrary to popular and old beliefs, "But they are also one of the baby furniture that are documented to cause the most accidents." (Read here for more kids' health-related myths.)


    2. You can encourage your toddler hone the skill of properly using a spoon. You can give them their own spoon during meal times and show them the motions of scooping the food and bringing the food to their mouth.

    Try not to coddle them too much; it's okay for them to make mistakes! Practice the motions with them and then let them try it on their own, interfering as little as possible so they can have a good feel of the spoon and how to use it properly.

    3. You can also start teaching them the different parts of their body at this age. Use bath times and dress up times as a way to more organically incorporate the names of body parts into your conversation or interactions with baby.

    Examples: "Let's clean your hands! Are these your hands? Wow! What clean hands!"

    4.  Use the proper words for things rather than baby language or gibberish when talking to your little one. Repetition is key! Do also prioritize more functional words or names for objects they frequently encounter first, since these are things they can experience, see, touch, and the like on the daily basis.


    5. You can take advantage of late infancy and toddlerhood as an amazing time for learning and absorbing information for your child in several ways:

    • By modeling behaviors you want them to also follow
    • By using language and words functionally and mindfully with them
    • By giving them the time and opportunity to practice their new and developing skills

    Keep these recommendations in mind the next time you ask yourself, "What should I be teaching my 14-month-old?" and make the journey both enjoyable and enriching for you and your toddler.

    (Read here on 15-month-old milestones.)

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