The Magic of Everyday Moment – From 1 to 2 years old
05:41 | 25/03/2014
The Magic of Everyday Moment
Loving and Learning Through Daily Activities
If you are like most parents today, your greatest challenge is probably caring for your baby while also taking care of yourself and your responsibilities. The competing demands on your time and energy make finding the time to connect with your baby no small challenge. But daily activities, such as feeding, bathing and grocery shopping, don’t need to take time away from bonding with and enjoying your baby. In fact, these everyday moments are rich opportunities to encourage your child’s development by building her self-confidence, curiousity, social skills, self-control, communication skills and social skills.
Most of all you build her desire to learn about her world. The articles in this series are not intended to be general guides to everything that is happening at each specific age. Instead, they focus on how, through interactions with your baby during everyday moments, you can support your baby’s social, emotional and intellectual development. It’s the special interplay between parent and child that makes everyday moments so meaningful. The potential is limitless. The starting point is you.
Toddler with mommy

Remember, everyday moments are rich bonding and learning opportunities. Enjoy the magic of these moments with your child. 


What It’s Like for You


Although there were times during your baby’s first year when the days (and nights) seemed endless—3 a.m. feedings, late afternoon cranky sessions, that first tooth breaking through— right now things probably feel a little calmer in some ways, and more demanding in others. This seems to be true for all stages of development; while some things get easier, there are always new challenges. Your child has made the transformation from the tiny stranger who came home with you from the hospital to a self-confident, opinionated person who takes up more space than any two adults combined. As you set about celebrating her first birthday, you find yourself wondering how it all happened so fast. Don’t be surprised by a rush of emotions. You have probably just been through the most emotional and intense year of your adult life!


Toddler with mommy


One-year-olds have a remarkable sense of independence that comes hand-in-hand with their new ability to do things for themselves. But as much as they enjoy their independence, they also take great pleasure in running back into your arms. They love to be cuddled and carried and babied… as long as they’re the ones who decide when to be a “big girl” and when to be “a baby.” While this can drive parents crazy (“Is she a baby or a teenager?”) what your child needs to know is that whatever she chooses to be in any given moment, you’ll be there for her. In fact, if you respond to her need to be “babied,” she’ll eventually choose the “big girl” role over the baby.


Reading Your Toddler's Cues


What follows is a chart that describes what children are learning at this stage and what you can do to support the development of these new skills. As you go through the chart, it’s important to remember that every baby is an individual person, and grows and develops in her own way, at her own pace. Building a strong and close relationship with you is the foundation of her learning and her healthy growth and development. 

Any concern about your baby’s behavior or development deserves attention. Always discuss your concerns with your child’s pediatrician or other trusted professional.


From 12 to 15 months


Toddler crawling



What to expect

What you can do

I’m On the Move

Your toddler will become increasingly mobile - walking and climbing up stairs on all fours. Remember, just because he can get up those  stairs doesn’t mean he can get down! That’s when he’ll need some help!

Create lots of safe places in your home where your child can explore without any fear of danger. Left to his own devices, in a safe environment, your baby will do all kinds of exciting things: crawl under tables, cruise around a coffee table, stand on his own, practice balancing and even take his very first solo steps.

Listen to Me

Your toddler’s communication skills will grow by leaps and bounds. She’ll use her gestures, as well as her voice, to show you what she wants. She’ll point to the refrigerator door when she’s hungry, and drag you to her toy shelf to point to what she wants.

  • Read, read and read some more. Label her feelings for her, “You’re mad I took the stick away!” Narrate what’s happening. “We’re rolling the ball. You have the ball… now I have the ball.”
  • When she says part of a word, repeat the “true” word for her. When she says, “juju,” you say, “You want juice.”

I Can Make It Work!

Your toddler will develop a better understanding of how things work. As he learns about the objects around him, like toothbrushes and telephones, he’ll want to use them all by himself.

Offer toys that represent objects in his world, such as play food, to help him practice being a “big person.” Give your child the opportunity to make things happen. Blow bubbles outdoors that he can chase, poke and pop. Provide simple musical instruments such as a tambourine or maraca.

I Can Do It!

Your toddler will want to participate more in daily routines. This kind of involvement will enhance her development on all fronts: motor, intellectual, social and emotional. Plus, she’ll delight in connecting with you around “real work.”

  • Include your child in everyday activities. She will feel proud and competent when she helps you do simple chores such as putting the napkins on the table.
  • Let her help as you dress her. She can get her arms into sleeves and feet into shoes, and she’ll feel so proud of her accomplishments.
  • Give her a spoon and let her try to feed herself soft foods like yogurt or applesauce.

That’s What Friends Are For

Your toddler will be eager to watch and play with peers. He learns so many important skills through imitation, and he learns about how relationships work through interaction.

  • Provide opportunities for him to play with other children. Research shows that toddlers are fascinated by and learn from their peers.
  • Don’t expect or pressure your toddler to share, he’s not ready yet. You can start to introduce the idea of “turn taking” by saying, “Now it is Sara’s turn . . . Now it’s Bob’s turn.” as you pass a toy back and forth. But if it doesn’t fly, don’t push it!

Try and Stop Me!

Your baby’s increasing drive to explore will require guidance from you about what she can and can’t do.

Distract and divert! While toddlers do understand “No! Don’t touch that!” and may stop themselves when they hear you say it, they do not yet have the impulse control to stop themselves from doing it again. It’s very easy to fall into a trap of saying “No” all day long. So, rather than say “No,” try diverting your child’s attention with a substitute toy or activity, something to which you can say, “Yes!”

Routines Rule!

There are certain things your toddler does every day… eat, sleep, wake up, get dressed. Establish routines around these activities, because toddlers find comfort in structure and predictability; plus, it will help avoid power struggles in the years ahead.

  • Establish a regular bedtime routine: bath, book, song and bed... or whatever works for you. The specifics aren’t nearly as important as the fact that your toddler will be able to predict what’s going to happen when, and not have to worry about surprises.
  • Mealtime is another good place for routine. “Before you leave the high chair, we have to wipe your hands!”

Imagine That!

When your toddler imitates your actions – by sweeping the floor, stirring a play pot, etc. she’s actually taking her first steps into the world of imagination and ideas. Learning to pretend lays the foundation for advanced thinking skills.

  • Encourage make-believe by helping to set the stage and joining her play. “Are you making dinner? Can I try some?”
  • Provide lots of good props. A block can become a car; a chair can become a cave. Let her know how much you appreciate her imagination.


From 15 to 18 months


Toddler catch bubble



What to expect

What you can do


Young children learn through repetition. Rolling a ball repeatedly or reading the same book over and over builds brain connections.

  • Allow your child to try things over and over or until he tires of it.
  • Add a new twist after he’s mastered a skill: bounce the ball to him instead of rolling it.
  • Routines are important. They are another form of repetition and help him feel in control.

Let Me be Your Baby

Your toddler can do so much more on her own. But, she still needs to know that you will take care of her and be her “safe base.”

  • Encourage her to try new things. Allow her freedom to discover, giving her the support she needs to feel safe exploring.
  • Comfort and reassure her when needed. Allow her to act like a baby. This will make it more likely that she’ll choose being a “big kid” more often.

I Want That one!

Your child can communicate better now. He will try to let you know what he wants by using words, facial expressions, gestures, and sounds. Tantrums may begin around this time. They may range from pouting to even breath-holding.

  • Give him choices that he can handle and that you can too!
  • Help your child learn to manage his feelings when he can’t have what he wants. Let him know you understand his disappoint­ment. Try offering alternatives.

I can do it!

Your toddler may be able to follow simple directions.

  • Make up games of following directions. “Go get the truck, book, toothbrush, etc.” This is great practice in a fun, playful way.
  • Let her help you with simple chores. Ask her to put her shirt in the laundry or a healthy snack on the table.

Talk with Me

Your toddler is learning new words. She’s realizing the power words have to let others know what she’s thinking and feeling.

  • Talk with her especially during daily routines, like family mealtime. The more you talk, the more words she’ll learn.
  • Turn off the TV and sing with your child. It’s a wonderful way to teach your child new words and ideas.

I’m on the move!

Your toddler may not only be walk­ing, but running. He may even be trying to jump or climb.

  • Make time to go outdoors in a grassy area where it is safe to run.
  • Provide safe obstacles to crawl under, over, and through when indoors.

In the danger zone

Your toddler’s new mobility means she is even better at getting into “off limits” areas.

  • Get on her level and see what new areas might need child-proofing.
  • Create lots of “yes” places to explore to reduce the “no’s” you have to say.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers handy, like poison control.

So many books, so little time

Young children love books and stories. Reading and story-telling are wonderful ways to promote language development. They help your child learn new words and concepts.

Give her books with photos of children doing familiar things like going to sleep, saying good-bye and hello, and going to the potty. Make stories a part of your daily routine such as during bedtime, bath time, and meal time. Encourage her to share her own stories too.


From 18 to 24 months


Toddler crawling with balls



What to expect

What you can do

I’m sure handy!

Your toddler’s hands and fingers are able to do much more. This opens up new ways to play.

  • Provide opportunities to color, turn pages while reading, and operate more complicated toys.
  • Have fun in the kitchen: finger paint with colored pudding on a baking sheet or mold cookie dough into fun shapes to bake.


For toddlers, emotions still win over self-control. This can make sharing very hard. Your child may understand “no” but her mind still says “yes” as she grabs a toy from another child.

  • Play back and forth games to help her understand and practice turn-taking.
  • Make sure your child has lots of opportunities to play with other children. Be their guide in learning to share. Developing this skill takes time and practice.


Your toddler may be experiencing a “vocabulary explosion.” He’s learning new words every day and may combine two or more in a phrase. He may want to practice talking…a lot!

  • Expand his words and phrases into a sentence: “Me down” be­comes “You want to get down.”
  • Play games with words. Try replacing a word in a familiar song: “Row, row, row your car.”

Let off some steam

Your toddler may have more tan­trums. He may get frustrated when he can’t do something he wants by himself.

  • Continue to label his emotions to help him feel in control and to let him know you understand.
  • Help him slow down or take a break when you see signs that he is getting frustrated or overwhelmed.

Let the Music Play

Your toddler will love music, danc­ing, singing, clapping, and other rhythm games. Sharing music is a great way to bond with and teach your child new words, ideas, and movements.

  • Make music a part of your day in ways you and your child enjoy. You can even dance on the way to the bath or sing in the car as you do your errands. Don’t worry about your voice children don’t judge!
  • Dance and introduce simple music games like freeze and the hokey-pokey.

Monkey-see, Monkey-do

Your toddler learns by imitating you and others she sees, especially other children.

  • Be aware of your own actions and words. Let him see you helping others, being kind, or staying calm when faced with a challenge.
  • Provide opportunities for him to see other kids practicing good habits like buckling up and eating healthy foods.

I can solve that!

Your toddler is getting better at problem-solving. She may try sev­eral times to figure out how to work a toy or puzzle.

  • Provide toys that challenge her but that she can master. If they’re too easy she’ll get bored, and her learning will be limited.
  • Coach your child – but don’t do it all for her. Provide just enough help to allow her to solve the problem.

I feel your pain

Your child is beginning to under­stand that others have feelings, too. He may pat your back, or even comfort another child.

  • Show that you appreciate his compassion: “That hug sure makes me feel better.”
  • Label your own feelings: “I’m sad because I bumped and hurt my toe.”


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Source: Zero to Three (


Read more:


The Magic of Everyday Moment – Baby from newborn to 6 months


The Magic of Everyday Moment – Baby from 6 to 12 months 

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