15-Month-Old Milestones for Your Baby
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Walking, running, climbing, and crawling—your little one is on the move! All that physical activity does wonders for their body and brain. Even though your heart might skip a beat when they trot unsteadily down a grassy hill, it’s important they have the chance to safely practice their new skills. You probably get a good workout chasing them around, too!
Your 15-Month-Old’s Behavior
Even now that you’re getting more sleep, you may find that patiently caring for your toddler is exhausting on an emotional level. They may not be able to keep their composure in the face of challenges, but your role as a parent is to keep it together and set a positive example. Which is… hard to do 24/7!
If you find yourself triggered by your 15-month-old’s behavior in a new and uncomfortable way, it’s your duty to get to the root of it so that you don’t lash out in response. This can call for work on your part, including trying to find the hurt that’s under your anger.
Often, the way we react in the moment is the result of past pain or trauma. Experiencing that in toddlerhood is unfair. However, what may have been beyond your control during your childhood is now something you have the power to overcome. These strategies can also help you keep your cool in heated moments…
- Clap your hands a few times, growl, and sternly say “No!” This “Clap-Growl Warning” is an effective way to get your child’s attention while also venting some anger without yelling.
- Practice “Magic Breathing” by turning away, relaxing your face, and taking a few slow, deep breaths. Allow one hand to rise as you inhale, then drop as you exhale. Bonus: Your child may also be ready for this calming practice by the time they turn 2.
- Look into other ways to lessen your load—such as getting help with housekeeping, getting groceries delivered, going to bed earlier, or scheduling a babysitter.
Your 15-Month-Old’s Developmental Milestones
You know the scene in The Little Mermaid when Ariel wonders what’s the purpose of a fork? Your 15-month-old is asking the same types of questions right now: They are constantly observing how different objects and tools are used—and then are eager to test the action out for themselves.
At this stage in your toddler’s development, you can clearly see these wheels turning in their mind by giving them a hairbrush to use after bathtime or putting child-sized utensils on their tray for meals. Their hair may end up messier than it began, and half the food might fall off the fork, but these efforts should still be celebrated!
Your toddler may also start experimenting with some imaginative play, like by holding a play phone up to their ear or pretending to eat food in a play kitchen. Their self-created stories and scenarios will get incredibly elaborate in the coming years. For now, you can help encourage them by playing along.
15-Month Milestone Checklist
Here’s a list of the things most children (that means 75% or more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) can do by 15 months.
Social and Emotional Milestones
- Shows you affection with hugs, cuddles, or kisses
- Hugs a stuffed doll or another toy
- Claps when excited
- Copycats other children while playing
- Shows you an object they like
Language and Communication Milestones
- Tries to say one or two words besides “mama” or “dada”
- Looks at a familiar object when you name it
- Points to ask for something or to get help
- Follows gesture-and-word directions
Learning, Thinking, and Problem-Solving Milestones
- Tries to use objects, like a cup or phone, the proper way
- Stacks at least two small objects, like blocks
Movement and Physical Development Milestones
- Takes a few independent steps
- Uses fingers to feed self
How many words should my 15 month old be saying?
Between 12 and 17 months, most children have a vocabulary of about four to six words. Here are speech milestones to look for at this age:
- Can answer simple questions nonverbally
- Can say two to three words to label a person or object, even if pronunciation isn’t clear
- Tries to mimic simple words
- Has a vocabulary of about four to six words
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, by 2 years, most children:
- Know a few parts of the body and can point to them when asked
- Can follow simple commands (“give Teddy Bear a kiss”) and understand simple questions (like “where is the ball?”)
- Enjoys simple songs, rhymes, and stories,
- Can point to pictures in books when named
- Picks up new words regularly
- Can ask one- or two-word questions (“Where’s Daddy?” or “Pick up!”)
- Can use different consonant sounds to start words
Feeding Your 15-Month-Old
It’s true that babies come in all shapes and sizes: Some have ample rolls and multiple chins while others take a bit longer to fill out their onesies. By the time they are mobile, however, your baby’s physique may begin to change as they grow into their toddler body. Children’s growth rates slow down during the second year, so it can help to refer to baby growth charts to make sure your little one is still on track.
Toddlers’ appetites can also be inconsistent. Depending on what they are doing (developmentally or otherwise) and what food is offered, they may want to clean their plate at dinnertime one night and not touch a bite the next day. For the most part, that’s to be expected at this age. You should check with their doctor if their appetite drops off suddenly and they have other symptoms of illness, or if your child is steadily losing weight.
With your kiddo’s best interests in mind, you may be tempted to force them to eat more. However, research shows this can actually have the opposite effect by decreasing their appetite. By 15 months, your child should be able to feed themselves. You should focus on serving well-balanced meals and allowing your child to be in control of how much they eat.
Your 15-Month-Old’s Health and Other Physical Milestones
Teeth and Dental Health
By 15 months, your child should have about eight teeth, give or take a few chompers. Guess what that means? It’s time to schedule an appointment with a dentist! Just like pediatricians, pediatric dentists are specially trained to work with little teeth—and little children. Get recommendations from friends with older kids and check to see which dentists are covered by your insurance plan.
Here are a few other tips to keep those baby teeth strong:
- Make a habit of brushing your child’s teeth twice a day. You can make the ritual more fun by letting them pick between two toothbrushes or singing a silly song while brushing.
- You can let them have a turn holding the toothbrush. But, to really get the job done, dentists recommend that you help brush your child’s teeth until they are about 7 years
- If your toddler has any side-by-side teeth, begin flossing once a day. Children’s flossers can be easier to manage with little mouths.
The 15-Month Checkup
It’s time for another trip to the pediatrician! Though you won’t see your doc nearly as you did during your tot’s first year, you’ll still pop in every few months. During the 15-month visit, you can expect standard physical check-ins (your baby’s height, weight, ears, eyes, head, mouth, breathing, and heart-rate). Your pediatrician will also screen for developmental milestones (so expect to fill out a questionnaire. Learn more about the 15-Month well-child visit.
15-Month-Old Height and Weight
At 15 months, the average boy is about 31 inches (78 cm) tall and weighs about 24.5 pounds (11 kg). And the average 15-month-old girl is about 30.5 inches (77 cm) tall and weighs about 23 pounds (10.5 kg). Of course, there’s a range of what’s considered typical—if you have any concerns about your child’s growth, don’t hesitate to call your care provider!
15-Month-Old-Milestones: Final Thoughts
Your newly minted toddler (eep!) is simply bursting with new skills to show off…and more are on the way! But remember: Milestones are guidelines, not set-in-stone rules. Translation: Some healthy tots may fall a bit behind...while others may leapfrog ahead. If you’re ever concerned about your bub’s development, talk to your child’s pediatrician. That’s what they’re there for!
- The Happiest Toddler on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp, MD
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Important Milestones: Your Baby by Fifteen Months
- Stanford Medicine Children’s Health: Age-Appropriate Speech and Language Milestones
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: Speech and Language Developmental Milestones
- The American Academy of Pediatrics, Physical Appearance and Growth: Your 1 Year Old
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.