Infant & Toddler Development

13–15 Months

You’ve made it through the first year! You have many memories of the times you have shared with your baby. The second year is also a very important time for your child. It is a time:

  • When she learns new skills such as dressing and eating.
  • When she wants to do things herself but still does not have the words or physical ability to do them and is easily frustrated.
  • When her safety is of major importance as she doesn’t understand the danger of her actions.
  • When her curiosity will delight and frustrate you. A toddler is challenging and exciting. She’ll need a lot of attention and encouragement from you. You’ll need a sense of humor, some time for yourself, and a lot of patience. Remember that her dramatic and changeable behavior is both normal and temporary.

What it’s like to be 13–15 months old

How I grow…

  • I can pick up things with my finger and thumb. Even tiny pieces of lint under furniture catch my eye.
  • I may be able to climb out of my playpen or crib.
  • I can hold a cup with both hands, but spills are frequent. I like to use a fork and spoon.
  • I am having more regular bowel movements, but I’m not ready for toilet learning.
  • I may take fewer naps or begin waking up at night.
  • I can stand up and side-step while holding on.

How I talk…

  • I say about four words clearly. I play at making sounds and say the real words I know over and over again.
  • I will usually give you a toy when you ask mefor it. But then I want it back again. When you ask me “Where is the ball?”, I look for it.
  • I know names of family members and I respond to my own name.
  • I like rhymes, jingles, and songs. I will try to sing along with you.
  • I use my finger to point at things I want. It’s my way of asking for them.

How I respond…

  • I am very definite about my likes and dislikes.
  • I seek attention and approval.
  • I do not always cooperate.
  • I’m loving and affectionate with my favorite people and pets.
  • I think a lot of things are funny.
  • I am easily distracted and entertained.
  • I am beginning to learn about things I’m not supposed to touch. I may still touch them because I don’t have much self-control.
  • I express a wide variety of feelings and respond to feelings of others.

How I understand…

  • I throw or drop things from my high chair to see what happens to them. I like to empty drawers, cabinets, wastebaskets, purses, and ashtrays because I’m curious. I don’t do it to upset you.
  • I understand more than I can say.
  • I point to the correct body part when you say, “Show me your nose, eyes, toes.”
  • I put small things into containers, dump them out, and do it all over again.
  • I pat or kiss pictures in a book.

How you can help me learn…

  • Spend time with me. Smile at me, read to me and talk to me. Tell me what I’m doing and what you are doing. These activities help me learn to talk.
  • Give me pots and pans, plastic bowls, and big kitchen utensils. Keep them in a lower drawer, shelf, or box in the kitchen. I will play with them while you’re cooking.
  • Save shoe boxes and oatmeal boxes for me. I will drop objects into them and take them out.
  • Hold me and dance with me while listening to music. Let me listen to different kinds of music.
  • I need space indoors and outdoors to practice crawling and walking. I am going to be running by the end of this year. Right now, let me practice crawling, standing, sitting, and walking on my own.
  • Read simple stories or rhymes to me. Have books in different places where I can easily reach them . . . the car, my diaper bag, the bathroom, my bedroom and other rooms.

Feeding Your Toddler


Your child will need less milk as she eats more table foods. Whole milk can be substituted for formula or breast milk. Unless your doctor suggests otherwise, whole milk or breast milk are the best choices for your child until she is two years old. It provides more of the essential fatty acids needed for your child’s growth.

However, milk alone cannot provide enough of the nutrients needed by an active toddler. She needs regular food because milk is low in iron. At mealtime, give her food before nursing or offering milk from a cup.

Some children are allergic to cow’s milk. If your child develops allergic signs such as spitting up when beginning to drink cow’s milk, see your doctor.


Encourage your child to feed herself. She no longer needs baby food. Offer her well-cooked, cut or mashed foods from the family meal. It is normal for toddlers to spill and be messy. Plan ahead by protecting the floor and her clothes. Feeding herself is your child’s way of saying, “I want to do it myself.”

Appetite Swings

Offer your child a variety of healthy foods, and don’t push or bribe her to eat. Your child knows when she has had enough to eat and what foods she likes.

Her appetite may change from day to day as her rate of growth varies. Preference for certain foods, refusal to eat, and pickiness are common. Keep meal time relaxed and enjoyable.

Safety & Your Toddler

Car Seats

A child not in a car seat could be hurt or killed by a sudden stop. No matter how tightly you hold her, she could be thrown from your arms by the force of the stop or collision. Even short trips at very low speeds could have a fatal ending.

She may resist the idea of being confined in a car seat. She may cry or try to climb out of it. However, be firm and always use the car seat. Never start the car until she’s safely buckled in.

Resistance to a car seat is usually a passing phase. Sing songs and provide her with small toys and books to help keep her busy. On longer trips, something to eat or drink might help.

Always feel the vinyl and metal parts on the car seat to make sure they are not too hot to touch. Hot seats can burn her skin. Covering the seat with a light cloth may help.

Accidents at Home

Constantly check your home to protect your active, curious toddler. A chair next to the kitchen counter allows her to climb to risky heights and reach dangerous objects. A bookcase, dresser, TV or table that can tip over easily may cause an accident. Recliners have injured children playing on the leg rest. At this age, your child is still unable to judge when a situation is dangerous.

Poisonous Plants

Hawai‘i has more than 80 varieties of poisonous plants. Some poisonous house plants are philodendron, poinsettia, and anthurium. Yard plants such as oleander and castor bean are especially dangerous.

Know the plants in and around your house. Be especially cautious of plants that have:

  • Rough or hairy leaves
  • Milky juice or sap, such as Crown Flower and Plumeria
  • Thorny leaves, fruit, or seed pods

For help or information, call the Hawaii Poison Center, or dial 911. (Available 24 hours a day statewide.)


Bumps and Cuts

As your child practices walking and climbing, she will have bumps, bruises, cuts, and scrapes. To reduce swelling, place something cold on the injured spot. A frozen can of juice or a package of frozen vegetables wrapped in cloth can be used quickly and easily. Clean the area well with soap and water and cover, if necessary.



Establish routines for mealtimes, naps, and bedtime. A toddler depends on these routines. Having some way to predict what is going to happen makes a child feel secure. A child’s bedtime routine may include taking a bath, putting on pajamas and reading a story.

A young child may sometimes resist routines, especially at naptime or bedtime. Positive statements such as, “It’s time for bed”, rather than, “Do you want to go to bed?”, may avoid a quick “no” from your child. Talking to her about the next steps in the routine may also help prevent resistance.

When a child’s routine is disrupted, it is upsetting for her. Plan ahead. Allow extra time for changing from one activity to another, and keep to your daily routines as much as possible.

Your Child’s Temperament

Each child is born with her own unique temperament. Children differ in activity, attention level, persistence, and personality.

What is your child like? Is she generally active or quiet . . . willing to try new things or more cautious . . . cheerful or serious . . . persistent or easily distracted?

How you accept, handle, and adjust to your child’s individual traits is important. By understanding your child’s temperament, you are better able to respond to her needs and make her feel she’s loved just as she is.

Your child is unique and has her own growth timetable. Each child develops in her own way. If you have any questions about your child’s development, call your doctor or H-KISS.

Take Care of Yourself

The decision to have another baby will affect your entire family in many ways. Consider your own values and goals as you decide on family size.

  • A second child creates changes in the family. Your older child may go back to some of her babyish ways. She may need extra care and comforting from you.
  • Some parents can take two children under two years of age in stride. For others, it may be taxing both physically and emotionally. Studies have shown that it takes about two years for a mother’s body to recover after the birth of a child. Close spacing of babies makes the recovery period longer. Your temperament, energy level, financial needs, and feelings of support from others are also things to consider.
  • Some parents report that children who are close in age have a special relationship to each other. Other parents have found that closely spaced children are more competitive and that children three or four years apart are likely to be better companions. Siblings are going to have arguments and fights, no matter what their age differences.
  • Some parents would really prefer to raise one child. Research indicates that these children are as happy and well adjusted as children in larger families.
  • Each child needs your special attention and love as well as your time and energy.

A Parent Asks

Q – Our son seems to enjoy playing with his penis while taking a bath. Is this okay?

A – Yes. Both boys and girls touch their genitals. If feels good and is a source of self-comfort. Although this may make you uncomfortable, remember that your son is exploring his body and is not behaving sexually in the same way as adults. Be sure not to shame or scold him. Over time you can help him learn that this is a private behavior.