15 Months Old Checkup
(Children 15 – 18 Months Old)
Eating: Your child should be off the bottle by now and should be drinking from a cup. He/she should be eating some soft table food which is easy to chew, but is still at risk for choking. Children in this age group often become picky eaters and you may notice an appetite drop. If you offer healthy foods your child will usually eat the right amount. Avoid conflicts over food. If your child does not want to eat what you are offering at a specific meal, do not force him/her. He/she will eat at the next meal. Your child should drink 16 to 24 oz of whole milk a day and continue to offer water throughout the day. Juice is mainly sugar and water, so limit juice to 4-6 ounces a day. No soda or tea. Try to at least eat one meal a day as a family.
Sleep: Your toddler should be sleeping all night. Don’t offer food or drink at night if your child wakes up. Try not to go in and pick up your child. Some children have to teach/soothe themselves to fall asleep. You should have bedtime habits now to make your child feel safe and secure. Reading, singing, and baths are all good things to include. He or she may be down to one nap in the daytime in the next few months.
Development: Below are some things many children this age will do:
- Walking well and starting to run by now
- Follow simple commands
- Understand “No” and shake head for “No”
- Begin to scribble with crayons
- Point to faces, objects when asked
- Open and close things
- Play with a ball
- Drink from a cup
- Help around the house
- Enjoy feeding self with fingers
- Say 3-6 words
- Know a few body parts
Help your child to learn:
- Read picture books
- Play simple games
- Use short words with your child
- Reward and encourage new words
Discipline: Toddlers in this age group are learning that they can affect their environment, so conflicts with parents often occur. Temper tantrums are common and are simply your child’s attempt to communicate what he/ she wants. Interact and love on your child through out the day, but ignore the behavior when he/she acts up. Let silence rule when your child throws a temper tantrum. Turn your back or leave the room. If you have to, put your child in the play pen or other safe place until he/ she is calm. You should teach your child that throwing a temper tantrum will not accomplish anything. Simple discipline techniques are effective in this age group. Rules should be consistent, enforced, and easy to understand. Make sure to praise your child for good behavior (catch him/her being good) and try to avoid as many conflicts as possible (don’t put candy in front of your child and tell him/her not to eat it).
Shoes: Shoes do two things — keep feet warm and protect them from injury. Toddlers don’t need extra ankle support or stiff soles.
Illness: Always wash your hands and make sure other children do the same. Remember, fever is only a sign of illness. Many infections at this age are caused by viruses and do not need antibiotics. Never give an antibiotic unless your doctor tells you. You can give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) if the fever is high or your baby seems cranky.
Immunizations: Your child may get vaccines today. You may give acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed for fever or pain.
- Keep poisons and medicines away from reach.
- Don’t store dangerous cleaners in regular drink or juice bottles.
- If your baby gets in to something poisonous but looks okay, call Poison Control (1-800-222-1222). If your baby looks sick call 911.
- Keep the Poison Control number on your refrigerator, or put it in your phone, so it is easy to find in case of poisoning.
- Your child should be in a convertible car seat in the back seat and should continue to face backwards until 2 years old.
- NEVER leave baby alone in bathtub or pool even for a second.
- Never feed your child small pieces of food, like nuts, hot dogs, grapes, hard candies, and popcorn.
- Always use sunscreen and protective clothing and hat when outside.
- Always check hot water heater. It should be less than 120 F.
- Your child is mobile now. Continue to make sure that your house is safe. Keep sharp objects out of reach. Cook on the back burner with the handles of the pots and pans facing the rear of the stove.
- Make sure your smoke detector is working.
- Keep your baby away from cigarette smoke.
- Continue to brush your child’s teeth with a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste twice a day.
- Balloons are a leading cause of choking deaths in this age group. Avoid giving balloons to children this age.
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The American Academy of Pediatrics Website for general information: www.healthychildren.org
Your next appointment will be at 18 months old