Week by Week

What do you need to know to care for your 20 months old baby?

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

Development & Behavior

What should my toddler be doing right now?

At 20 months, your child may be able to start using one to two word sentences. He will be very curious with books. This is a great way to encourage reading. He may even have a favorite book that he wants you to read. He can probably point to different pictures in the book. This is a great sign that his communication and cognitive skill are developing.

You can also tell his motor skills are developing by holding the book on his own. This is a great accomplishment. He probably can also turn the page on his own. These small positive signs are great ways to know your baby is developing normally. He may also be able to throw and kick a ball.

What should my toddler be preparing to do?

A great way to support your toddler is buying books to read during reading time. You can schedule reading time before bedtime. This is a great way to calm and relax your child before bedtime. Other times when you can incorporate reading time is during playtime, before naptime or even potty time

You can choose different types of books such as rhyming books or picture naming books. You can also bring your child to the bookstore and observe what type of books your child gravitates towards. Involve your child in the book selection which will stimulate his excitement.

Your baby is starting to become more independent. He will probably start shouting “Me do it” or “By self!”. You can support your child by giving him small chores such as putting a dirty spoon in the sink or cleaning his own spills. This will empower him and make him feel important. Be sure to offer specific approving praise, whether or not the job is done perfectly: “Wow, thank you for putting the dirty spoon away!”

Doctor visits

What should happen to my toddler when I visit my doctor?

Your next doctor visit is probably not scheduled for this month. You should only see your doctor if you missed your last 18month checkup or if you have any urgent concerns. If your child is active and healthy, you can wait until your next visit at 24 months.

What should I tell my doctor?

It is important to take care of your toddler’s teeth. Toothpaste that has fluoride is not recommended until at least 2 years old. The reason is because at this age your child does not know how to spit yet. It is dangerous if your child ingests too much fluoride. You can use baby toothpaste without fluoride. It may also be challenging to get your child to brush his teeth. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Try having your child imitate you. Brush your own teeth at the same time so your child can also brush his teeth. It can be a favorite toddler activity you do together.
  • Exaggerate the spitting part. Many toddlers love this once they’ve mastered it. Show him how to swish a sip of water and then spit it out – and then let him practice as many times as he wants.
  • Let him stand on a step stool so he can see his reflection in the mirror. Then count teeth together as you brush them.
  • A battery-powered or musical toothbrush may entice a reluctant brusher.
  • A small, soft-bristled brush is the most comfortable.
  • These tips can help your toddler start brushing on his own in no time.

What to expect

What health concerns should I expect?

You may be concerned about how your toddler is not listening to you. They may understand the word “no” but they will not always listen to you. This is because they have not learned about self-control yet. What you can do right now is make your home child-safe, meaning put away breakable items or use plastic covers for sharp corners. This will limit you from say too many “nos.” When you do have to say “no” you can guide your child and suggest him to play with a safe alternative. Safe control takes time to develop.

Another concern is being worried about how your child’s vocabulary is developing. Every child is develops at a different rate. It is important to find clues and know when to support your child’s development. For example if you find your child pulling your hand to a toy he wants to play with, you can verbalize his thought. This way next time he might use his words to express what his wants.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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