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Ages & Stages: 1 to 2 Years

Dear Debi,
I’m a stay at home mother with a 14-month-old son. He’s still not walking completely on his own and I have concerns about what is normal or not. What should I know about my baby’s development and how can I encourage him more?
Lena White
Debi's Tips
Debi Gutierrez
Debi Gutierrez
  • Each child grows at his own rate
  • Reaching milestones indicates healthy development
  • Allow your child safe exploration
  • Follow your child’s lead
Expert Advice
Sabra Smith, Ed.D.
Sabra Smith, Ed.D.
Education & curriculum specialist
First, Lena should make sure that she engages her son in an enriching environment, one that promotes his development. Perhaps Lena should take him to the park, guiding him as he walks on the grass. Also helpful are climbing toys at home which promote gross motor skill development. Constantly holding or carrying a toddler doesn’t promote physical development. As child care providers, we must encourage self-exploration and initiative in young children.

You need to follow your child’s lead, but still understand they need to be watched as they are starting to explore the world around them. Safety should always come first, but we must allow children to fall or to have a toy taken away by another child. A child who falls and gets back up is one who begins to learn that he or she should keep trying. Furthermore, sharing between children is fostered at very early ages.

Often when a child realizes that he or she has done something to disappoint another child, he or she will take note of the situation, sometimes pausing in an attempt to understand what happened to disappoint the other child. It is the child care provider’s responsibility to be the interpreter of the child’s world as they learn through observation and exploration.

The major areas of child development are: cognitive (learning); physical (gross and fine motor skills); and social emotional. Every child is different and develops at different rates, but here are some typical accomplishments that you should be looking for at the following intervals:

14 months
  • stands alone well
  • stacks two blocks
  • puts objects into a container
  • speaks one to six words, other than “mama” or “dada”
  • can roll a ball to the adult on request
  • gestures to indicate his or her “wants”
  • pulls off hat, socks, or mittens
18 Months
  • drinks from a cup
  • scribbles
  • starts running
  • points to items
  • communicates affection
24 Months
  • jumps and runs well
  • refers to himself by name
  • points to pictures in books
  • puts on a piece of clothing
  • kicks and throws a ball
  • walks without help
  • can be understood half of the time when speaking
  • speaks around 50 words and at least in two-word phrases
  • demonstrates feelings rather than says feelings
  • builds tower using 6 blocks
  • recognizes self in mirror
If your child is not reaching these milestones outlined above, then you should schedule regular health check ups and consult with your pediatrician.

The best way to judge your toddler’s growth is when you see improvement, compare your child’s abilities to his or her earlier skills – not to another child’s abilities.
Child Care provider Comments
Rob Morhaim
Rob Morhaim
Father of two
Both of my kids started walking when they were 14 months old. It’s hard to tell someone not to be concerned. If you are concerned, it could help to join a mommy’s group and get some support to know that everyone’s been there. Once you start talking to other parents and find out that you’re not the only who feels that way, it reassures you that maybe your child is right where he’s supposed to be.
Carol Woods
Carol Woods
Grandmother of eleven
As longs as Lena’s taking her son to the doctor and there’s nothing physically or psychologically wrong with him, she should just continue to make sure that she’s giving him every opportunity to practice walking instead of carrying him around all the time. All he may need to walk are the right shoes – the kind with leather soles – and letting him hold onto your fingers as he walks. Even starting to walk barefoot will help the child feel grounded.
Sonnia Corzo
Sonnia Corzo
Child care provider for 6 years, mother of four
I would tell Lena not to worry because kids grow at different levels. If she’s concerned, she should check with her pediatrician. Also, she should encourage him at home as he tries to walk on his own. It has to come from the child, so she shouldn’t push him to walk, but she should definitely encourage him to walk at his own pace.

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Topic: Child Development
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