Looking, touching, listening and getting into everything they possibly can. Sound familiar? Learn all about life with your 15-month-old.
By Today's Parent
Updated Jun 10, 2019
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
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
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.
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
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!
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!
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
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.
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.
Quick Fixes for Health
Remove bandage residue
Why is it long after the bandage comes off, there’s still that sticky, dirty reminder of the time they fell off their scooter? The residue seems to stay on all summer long. To get rid of it, once and for all, gently massage a small amount of baby oil onto the skin. The residue should wipe right off.
A trick to get your baby to take medication
Need a way to help the medicine go down? Cut off the tip of an open-ended soother (like a Philips Avent pacifier) with a pair of scissors to create a small opening. Stick the medication dropper through the soother channel to administer medicine.
Four tips for applying sunscreen
“We play ‘freeze!’ to see who can stay still the longest. Or I let them cover my face with sunscreen while I do theirs to keep them preoccupied.” —Linda McCool Limini, Waterloo, Ont.
“I put lotion dots all over one of his arms or legs and let him rub it in.” —Sherry Van Der Hayden, Windsor, NS
“I apply the sunscreen while my son is strapped into his high chair.” —Christi Dunn Wyers, Victoria, BC
“I squeeze some sunscreen into a bowl and get a cute paintbrush and paint it on their faces. It tickles them.” —Rebecca Howat, Frankford, Ont.
Stop a nosebleed
1. Contrary to popular belief, don’t tilt his head back. Have him lead forward from a sitting or standing position. Don’t let him lie down–his head should be above his heart.
2. Apply pressure with your thumb and finger, pinching the soft part of the nose just below the bridge for a few minutes, until bleeding stops. (If it continues after 20 minutes, call your doctor.)
3. Apply petroleum jelly under his nose to keep it moist. Since dry air can cause nosebleeds, consider using a humidifier in your kid’s room.
Illustrations by Grace Cho
Treat a blister
1. If a blister is large or painful you can drain it with a straight pin that has been sterilized with rubbing alcohol. Once you’ve pierced it, gently press down on the blister so the liquid drains out of the puncture.
2. Once the blister is drained, wash the affected area gently with soap and water. Don’t remove the skin flap on the blister, as the skin helps healing and prevents infection.
3. Apply a layer of antiseptic ointment and cover with a clean bandage. Change the bandage once a day or when it gets dirty.
Help soothe your baby during a shot
Physical contact is key. Soothe her by breastfeeding before, during and after the needle, if possible. Or you can give your babe some sugar water, which releases natural pain-reducing chemicals in the brain, just before the shot. To make your own sugar water, boil water for two minutes and then mix two teaspoons of the water with one teaspoon of sugar. Let cool before offering to your baby.
Ease an earache
1. Pour a cup of coarse salt into a clean white cotton sports sock. (As table salt can easily seep out of the sock, it doesn’t work as well.)
2. Tie a knot at the end of the sock and place it in a clean skillet over medium-low heat for about five minutes, shaking the sock and flipping it over at the halfway point.
3. After testing the temperature on your inner arm, apply the sock to the affected ear and hold in place for up to 10 minutes.
Illustrations by Audrey Malo
Relieve dry skin
It’s an age-old remedy for skin ailments like bug bites and poison ivy, and an oatmeal bath is also an excellent solution for dry skin, says Winnipeg dermatologist Victoria Taraska. “Oats contain phenols and antioxidants that will reduce skin inflammation and quell itchiness,” she says.
1. Pour a ½ cup of whole oats into the tub as you fill it with warm water (hot water can irritate sensitized skin). For a milkier soak that may be more effective for severely dry skin, blend oats to a fine dust in a food processor so they dissolve completely in the water.
2. After you add the oats, run your hand along the bottom of the tub to break up any clumps that may form.
3. Carefully lower your little one into the bath – the oats may make the tub more slippery than usual.
4. Allow him to soak for about 15 minutes, then gently pat him dry with a soft towel. (Any rubbing can exacerbate problem spots.)
Add a drizzle of bath oil (you could even use olive oil) to the water for an ultra-moisturizing alternative.
Having trouble convincing your little guy that pouring oatmeal into the tub is a great (not gross) idea? Turn it into a game. Say, “Imagine the tub is a big bowl of porridge. What kind of topping do you want to be?” Trust us, he’ll be making like a raisin in no time.
How to give your kid eye drops
1. Have him lie down with his neck propped up and his chin lifted so the drops won’t run down his face.
2. Give him two tissues (one in each hand), and tell him that his job is to hold the tissues beside his eyes (roughly at the temple).
3. Tell him to gently close his eyes. Squeeze drops into the inner corner of each eyelid, and then ask him to slowly open his eyes. The drops will run in all by themselves.
Illustrations by Audrey Malo
How to get through a wait at the doctor’s office
At their next checkup, keep kids distracted with this simple trick: Pack a small bag with coloured pencils, crayons and stickers—but don’t bother with a colouring book. The paper that covers the exam table is the perfect canvas for little artists. If your child is less interested in solo colouring, try playing hangman or tic-tac-toe.
How to teach your child to blow her nose
Some kids can find nose-blowing difficult. How can you help your little one master the skill?
1. Familiarize her with the idea of blowing air out of her nose by getting her to move a cotton ball with only nose air (keeping her mouth closed).
2. Now she’s ready to try with a tissue. Have her gently press one nostril closed while she blows out with the other, then switch sides.
3. Have her dispose of her tissue once she’s done and wash her hands to prevent the spread of germs.
Illustrations by Grace Cho
A non-chemical way to treat lice
Want to try a non-chemical treatment for lice? Put 10 drops of tea tree oil in conditioner and rub into clean, wet hair to create a thick coat. Wait about 20 minutes; then, using a lice comb, remove the smothered lice and nits. Rinse hair.
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.