At 14 months, your child’s job in life is straightforward: to play and learn—which almost always go hand in hand. Your adorable tot probably has some impressive “tricks” of their own, like precious dance moves, favorite words, and that cute gesture they do when you ask, “how big are you?” 

Your 14-Month-Old’s Development 

Although your tyke’s vocabulary is likely still small, you should be able to communicate pretty well. They can comprehend an impressive number of words and sign language gestures. This is called receptive language, meaning they can understand you, even if they are not so great, yet, at speaking words (expressive language). It’s great to speak as many different languages as possible with your tot. Kids are quite fast at figuring out what the different words mean, but it can slow down their ability to figure out what to say and temporarily delay speech.

Most toddlers want to be part of the party. They want to tell you something, they just aren’t sure how! And, for some, this can be a cause of frustration and even hitting, biting, crying when they can’t get their message across. One way to relieve frustration and help your tot feel understood is working on Baby Sign Language together. (If you didn’t try it earlier, it’s not too late to start!)

At this age, you may also see a little bump in separation anxiety. It’s a big help to use a lovey, for a cuddly boost in security. You can also ease your separation anxiety before leaving your baby with a sitter or family member by finding someone you trust, doing a trial run, and writing down everything the caregiver needs to know ahead of time!

Your 14-Month-Old’s Behavior

As adults, we’re able to balance out the left (logical) and right (impulsive) sides of our brains pretty well. But 14-month-olds? That right side of the brain basically runs the show—and the scale tips even further to the right side when they’re upset! Tantrums may come out of the blue, but often they are a sign to savvy parents that something else is going on (you can revisit common tantrum triggers here!).

You will have lots of opportunities every day to help yourself—and your uncivilized little friend— get through their big emotions by using your voice, gestures, and body language to mirror how they are feeling with scaled-back intensity (aka putting the Fast-Food Rule and Toddler-ese into practice). 

A Beginner’s Guide to Limit Setting

Our job is to create walls to guide children down the path of life—some set up very narrow and controlling limits and others very broad and wide limits. But the thing about kids is they are constantly learning, testing, and experimenting. So rather than just walking down the path they keep going up to a wall (your limit) and pushing it.

Their job is to learn to be confident, assertive, and thoughtful (“Sometimes I can push a chair…and sometimes it is too heavy”). Kids learn about the world by testing the limits…and pushing the walls to see which ones are really solid! This is why every parenting guide mentions consistency as an important part of parenting. However, consistency doesn’t mean never changing your mind or giving in.

One last point: A weird thing about pushing the limit is that tots often do it because we have been unclear or ambivalent in setting the boundary. We change our mind, parents contradict each other, we laugh when we say “no!,” or say things when we aren’t fully paying attention, which undermines the importance. All of these situations invite and encourage your tot to push you: “Let me get this straight…are you sure we have to leave the park right now? I don’t want to go, and you seem a little unclear…so let me see if I can get my way…like I did last week when my screams worked to for me to get my way.” 

Your 14-Month-Old's Temperament 

By 14 months, you should have a pretty good sense of your child’s temperament—with most kids falling into one of three categories: easy, shy, or spirited. For example, when meeting new people, the “easy” child might show interest, the “shy” child shows reluctance, and the “spirited” child is either delighted by the new person or completely rejects them.

Even with those to-be-expected big emotions, there is plenty of space for your child’s unique personality to shine. Some kids are much more obedient and would never test limits, while others are born with a challenging streak. These little cave kids are constantly testing the limits—pushing the walls and seeing where they can make the limit move. 

Your 14-Month-Old’s Health 

Getting the Right Fuel

By 14 months, you either have a walker or are very close to that milestone. Even after they take those steps, all babies have their own paces: Some little ones are cautious while others are ready to go from 0 to 60 any chance they get. 

Your toddler’s balance, coordination, and even walking form are still developing. They “toddle” when they walk, and that’s why they call them toddlers! If you have concerns about your child’s steps don’t hesitate to ask your medical advisor. 

To fuel up for all that physical activity, most toddlers eat three square meals a day, with a couple of snacks. But if you let your child graze all day, they may not be too interested when they have a full plate of nutritious options in front of them. 

At mealtime, include a mixture of protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy, while minimizing sodium, sugar, and saturated fats. Milk or non-dairy milk can now replace formula or breastmilk—although there is no problem continuing with the latter for however long feels right for your family. 

The bottom line: You control what goes on the plate, but not what goes in the mouth! Toddlers often seem to survive on air. Many little kids eat way less than we think they need. And they can get very picky (“No, I won’t eat a broken cracker!” “Yuck, the peas touched my carrots!!”)

The important things are:

  • Is your child’s weight following the lines on the growth chart? (Weight gain really slows down at this age but should still follow one of the percentage lines on the chart.)
  • Is your child pooping okay?
  • Does your tot eat a variety of foods over the course of a week?

Just Add Water (Safety)

According to the National Institutes for Health, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death among children ages 1 through 4. The keyword there is accidental—which means it’s preventable. Keep your newly on-the-go kiddo safe by doing your research ahead of time and practice diligence whenever you are around (or near) water. 

  • Even a few inches of water can be deadly for children. Immediately drain the bathtub after use. If you have a pool, make sure there is a maintained multiple-barrier system to protect your child and others.
  • Supervise your child when you are around or near water. Don’t assume someone else is keeping an eye on them—even a lifeguard. Drowning rarely looks like flailing and screaming. More often, it is a silent and quick danger
  • Consider enrolling your child in swimming lessons! Yes, even at 14 months. Swimming instruction can give your child safety skills as well as proper respect for the water.

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