Happy birthday baby!
Congratulations! As the proud parent of a one-year-old, you have been through a lot. Growth spurts and crying jags, yes, but also the thrill of that first smile, first tooth, maybe even his first steps or word. Compared to the tiny bundle he once was, your toddler seems pretty grown up. But in many ways, a one-year-old is still more of a baby than a young child.
The catch is that he’s now a different brand of baby. While he used to see himself as an extension of you, he has now discovered a new sense of "me!" And where he was once content to let you make his decisions for him, he is now developmentally driven to have his own ideas, opinions, and sense of independence.
It's an awesome transformation to watch, but it can be frustrating, too. Why does your one-year-old take the stairs like a pro when you're empty-handed beside him, but lift his arms to be carried when you're loaded down with a heaping laundry basket?
The answer is that these first forays into independence are not designed to be practical. In a year or two, you will be able to count on your toddler to feed himself, walk by himself, maybe even dress himself with some reliability. But for now, think of these bouts of self-sufficiency as a bonus to delight in, not solid skills to count on. For more about your child's mixed feelings on becoming his own person, check out our insider’s guide to the toddler years.
The transition to table food
Once he's got a few teeth, your child is likely to crave texture the way that many moms and dads crave early morning coffee. And by now he probably finds grownup food a lot more interesting than baby food of any kind. But how do you introduce him to “real” meals?
Perhaps most importantly, approach feeding your toddler anything — from macaroni noodles to marscarpone cheese — with an easy, casual attitude and a lot of patience.
Play to learn
One of the best ways for children to discover and learn about the world around them is through play. Now that your baby's learning to walk and talk, he's developing a whole new bag of tricks to play with.
If he's already taken his first few steps, for example, he may have a blast playing with push and pull toys, which will help him practise walking. He'll also enjoy going out and about to playgrounds and supermarkets and, at this stage, he may also like to scribble up a storm with oversized crayons. Discover some new play ideas and how they’ll benefit your toddler.
Working with your caregiver
If you're back to work, or getting ready to go, you know how important it is to find good child care — and how hard it can be to find that special daycare centre or provider you feel great about. But that's just the first step. Once you do find child care, it's important to establish and maintain a good working relationship with the caregiver(s).