Your 17-month-old is not quite a baby and not a full-fledged toddler yet. Her language skills are emerging but aren’t sufficient for her to express her feelings, wants and needs. Her physical skills are also progressing quickly. She may be able to climb on anything and won’t remain confined to her stroller for long. And, that makes her tricky to keep up with!
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children make regular well visits to their health care provider for developmental surveillance. Developmental surveillance is designed to provide the health care provider with an overview of a child’s development and flag any areas where further screening may be needed to detect developmental delays. The CDC reports that 17 percent of kids have a developmental or behavioral disability such as autism and ADHD and 50 percent of these kids are not identified with a problem until they reach school where vital windows for treatment may have already been missed.
Many old wives tales would dictate that your child should be giving up any "security blankets" that they have become attached to. They may have a favorite blanket, stuffed bear or even a hat that they can’t be without. As your child transitions into her toddler years, her attachment may become even more pronounced. As she faces frightening situations, is overly tired or sick she may demonstrate a profound attachment to these items. While you may feel the need to banish the threadbare, dirty blankie your little one loves, don’t. It’s perfectly normal for her to feel that attachment and need it as well. Kids usually give those objects up on their own when they feel secure and independent enough to do so. For now, sneak in a few washings while she’s sleeping!
Your 17-month-old will want your attention and will do anything to get it, even if it means misbehaving! She may become assertive and begin expressing her wants and needs. That translates into a toddler who can be demanding and stubborn. Don’t worry, it won’t be long and she’ll begin to express her feelings, wants and needs with more sophisticated language. Her climbing skills are excellent and she loves to push things across the floor and down the stairs. She wants to be independent in these activities so watch her closely as you give her space. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) expects a child between 1 and 2 years to be able to recognize names of familiar objects and form short phrases and sentences. He will also be able to follow simple directions.
As your child becomes interested in your daily activities and the things you use to go through your chores encourage them to get involved. She’ll love your cell phone, the vacuum, keys, iPods and kitchen utensils. She’ll will want to try and use them the same way you do. Hand them a cloth or duster as you clean and have them dust along with you. Have her clean up her toys, put her clothes in the washing machine and throw trash away. She won’t always be so eager to help so take advantage of her desire to be "all grown up!"
While all toddlers develop at their own speed, If you are concerned about your child’s development be sure to make an appointment with your health care provider as soon as possible. Many developmental delays, if identified early, can be treated and reversed. Measure your child’s development by developmental guidelines provided by your health care provider and your parental instinct. You know your child best and if you feel something is not right you need to have it checked out.