Your toddler: 15 months old

Looking, touching, listening and getting into everything they possibly can. Sound familiar? Learn all about life with your 15-month-old.

Photography by Nicole Duplantis/Clothing provided by babyGap and Joe Fresh

Starting to get the hang of this parenting-a-toddler thing, even though your kid is changing by the second? There’s a lot to keep up with, we know. If you notice anything these days, it will be that they’re discovering the world around them—they’re all about looking, touching, listening and getting into everything they possibly can. You may also notice that they’re getting a bit more emotional, which means those dreaded terrible-two tantrums may be just around the corner.

15-month-old development and milestones

What they’re up to

Dad reading to his two kids on the couch Study: Reading aloud to toddlers can make them less hyper as schoolagers At this month’s visit, your child’s healthcare provider will make sure they’re on the right track, according to the Nipissing District Developmental Screen (the gold standard in tracking kids’ development). Here’s what your kiddo will be doing around the 15-month mark.

  • Using five or more words
  • Trying to show you something using sounds or words while reaching or pointing and looking at you
  • Imitating a few animal sounds
  • Using connected sounds that seem like stories
  • Responding to their name when called
  • Picking up and eating finger foods
  • Recognizing some body parts on themselves and their dolls
  • Crawling up the stairs
  • Walking sideways while holding onto furniture
  • Removing socks and trying to undo shoes
  • Stacking two blocks
  • Repeating an action that made you laugh
  • Looking at you to see how to react

When to talk to your doc

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Every kid develops at their own pace, so don’t worry too much if your tot hasn’t reached each and every milestone yet. That said, you may want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider if your wee one doesn’t show affection (hugging and kissing you), isn’t interested in other kids, doesn’t use consonant sounds (“ga, ba, da”), has lost skills they have already mastered or shows weakness on one side of their body.

Vaccination update

Depending on where you live, there’s a routine shot at the 15-month mark. The two-dose varicella (chickenpox) vaccine is required by law in Ontario (for kids born in 2010 or later who attend school) and has been shown to reduce hospitalization from chickenpox. You can check your province or territory’s public health department to see if your toddler is up to date on their shots.

The mental leap

Mom holding baby Sleep and feeding schedule for your 12- to 18-month-old baby There’s so much going on at this stage, we don’t know where to start. You’ll see your kid’s personality start to shine through around this time, but get ready: Odds are, they’ll start to get grabby (mine!) and even start to nag to get their way. Oh, and if you were wondering when the negotiating and bargaining were going to start, get ready: These tots are more advanced than most of us give them credit for. You’ll find that they are big on “yes” and “no” (more the latter than the former) and will be all about doing things themselves, which will require patience on your part. Put it this way: Letting them put on their own clothes, coat and shoes will mean you have to build lots of extra time into your schedule to leave the house!

Antisocial butterflies

They may look adorable, but their behaviour isn’t always so sweet. Don’t be surprised if you catch them pushing a pal to get a toy or ignoring fellow kids at the park—they still see potential pals as objects as opposed to playmates. If they’re in daycare, now’s a good time to join a parent-and-tot group to get them used to being around other little ones. Bonus: You’ll meet other mamas and papas in the same boat as you. Let the commiserating begin!

Nighty-night

This isn’t news, but bedtime sucks for a lot of parents. If trying to get your kid into a good night-time routine (getting them to go to sleep and stay that way) is driving you batty, you might consider hiring a sleep coach. While some folks think these services are for lazy, privileged parents, anything that helps mom and dad get the sleep they desperately need is seriously worth considering. The truth is, these patient consultants can be a lifesaver, and parents who’ve gone that route can attest to their help. A quick note before you hire a coach: The industry is unregulated, so do your due diligence and ask for references before you bring someone on board.

Welcome to Tantrum Town

A little boy throwing a tantrum surrounded by colourful blocks 5 tantrum triggers and how you can avoid them You know what they say about the terrible twos, right? They often come on much earlier than 24 months. If your once-angelic child is suddenly devilish, we feel your pain. When kids don’t get their way, they freak the eff out, and it’s not always a cakewalk to get them to quit. Not sure how to stop a major meltdown? Our best advice is to remember that this is totally normal behaviour (even though it’s super-annoying), distract them with anything you possibly can and, well, pray they grow out of this stage ASAP.

Your life after baby

How to chill

There’s a whole new world of things to worry about now that your kid is on the move. By now, you’ve considered their safety at home by babyproofing, including putting gates up by stairs, and you’re keeping a close eye on what they’re getting into. It’s enough to drive you nuts—and that’s what we’re hoping we can help with. Some parents swear by babyproofing their life, instead of their home, for sanity’s sake. Our best tips? Hire a good babysitter so you can take a load off once in a while, consider a meal service (or at least grocery delivery) to take the pressure off, simplify your tot’s bedtime routine (so what if they don’t get a bath every night?) and never, ever say no to help.

Relationship help 101

Believe us, this won’t come as a surprise: Your relationship with your partner could be, well, a bit strained these days. That’s normal, and you’re not alone. Kids can seriously do a number on every part of your life, including this one. Some moms report feeling non-existent when it comes to their partners (“I don’t exist anymore—it’s all about the kids and his job”), some feel unappreciated, and some feel as if their significant others don’t take on their fair share of the housework and child-rearing. Sound like you and yours? Here are some helpful tips—and a dad’s insightful perspective on doing chores and adjusting to the new normal after baby.

Stuff no one tells you

Take it outside

Some days, you just don’t feel like trekking to the park, which means you’ll need ideas you can use to keep your kid entertained in your own backyard. There are fun—and, yup, educational—ways to enjoy the great outdoors that don’t involve swings and slides. Our favourites? Grab an old bed sheet and markers and let them make a mural or fill up a bucket of water, get some paint rollers and have them “paint” the deck and fence.

Health hacks

Ouch, blisters aren’t fun for anyone. These bubbles of fluid are caused by friction from shoes, and most kids get them on their heels. Sometimes they get blood blisters if their delicate skin is pinched in a hinge or closing door. If it’s a big clear-fluid-filled blister, drain it with a pin (but sterilize it in rubbing alcohol first). Once it’s drained, wash the area with soap and water. Don’t disturb the skin flap—it prevents infection. Slather on some antiseptic ointment and cover with a bandage. Call the doc if it looks like the area is getting infected.

How to get rid of gooey bandage residue

It’s hard enough to rip a bandage off a little one. To get rid of that sticky glue, massage a bit of baby oil onto the skin and gently wipe off any residue.

Remove bandage residue

Just for fun

Books for bedtime

Get ready for the “Read me a story!” stage, which frankly lasts for years. From Five Little Monkeys to It’s Time to Sleep, My Love, you’ll want to have lots of age-appropriate reads on hand, including the classics, local faves and new hits. Check out our curated list of some of the best reads for sleepytime stories.

Read more:
Your toddler: 16 months old
What’s the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown?

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