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Your Walking Talking Tot
The biggest milestones during your child's second year will be learning to walk and talk. If he isn't on his feet yet, don't worry: all children develop at different rates and it's completely normal not to walk until 16 to 18 months.

How you can help: Give him a pull-along toy to play with: this will improve his balance.Your child may say his first word - probably dada or mama - as early as six or seven months, but he won't know what it means until he's about one.

How you can help: Talk to him! Singing nursery rhymes will also help develop his language skills. Don't 'correct' his speech: use adult language - rather than 'baby talk' - when you talk back to him, so he can hear the words spoken correctly
Toddler Taming
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It can be a shock the first time your toddler throws a tantrum. The best thing to do is ignore it. Ideally, divert his attention, but if this doesn't work, just carry on with whatever you were doing. If you refuse to react, he'll soon realise that he's not going to get his own way by screaming and throwing himself on the floor.
A Perfect Partnership?
One of the hardest things about having a child is coming to terms with the effect they have on your relationship with your partner. When you're both frazzled from work, childcare and household chores, it can be difficult to keep the spark alive.
But it's vital that you retain a sense of yourselves as a couple and continue to have fun together - otherwise your family life won't be nearly as fulfilling. Ask a close relative or friend to look after your child now and again, so you can go out for a meal or just take a walk around the block together. Try to appreciate each other. Remember, you're in this parenthood thing together. If you're a single parent - make sure you get some time out from childcare, or you could feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities. If help is thin on the ground, or you'd just like to meet other people in the same situation, contact Gingerbread (tel: 020 7336 8184), an organisation that offers support for single parents. When the going gets tough, remember there's no such thing as a perfect parent. You can only do your best and your best will be good enough.
Q My two-year-old daughter doesn't do anything I ask her to do, which really winds me up. How can I avoid getting to the end of my tether? A Take her out. A trip to the park, shops or a friend's house will make you both feel better and restore your sense of humour. Dealing with challenging behaviour isn't easy. Consistency is crucial: it's no good letting your toddler climb all over the furniture one day, then trying to stop him doing it the next. For your sanity, as well as your child's development, try to have as few rules as possible, but make sure you stick to them. And only set rules that you'll be able to enforce, otherwise you'll find yourself nagging constantly about things that don't really matter. If you can work out what matters to you, and relax about the rest, you'll find it easier to enjoy your child.
Useful Tips: Milestones
What your one-year-old Can do
  • Crawl or cruise around the furniture - he may even be able to walk
  • Pick up small objects
  • Clap his hands
  • Understand some things you say
  • See almost as well as an adult
  • Drink from a cup

What Your 18-Month-Old Can Do
  • Kick and throw a ball
  • Take off his clothes
  • Use a spoon
  • Say between 6 to 20 words
  • Put two words together
  • Point to parts of the body
  • Scribble with a crayon or penci

What Your Two-Year-Old Can Do
  • Say around 200 words (and understand many more)
  • Build a big tower of bricks
  • Pedal a tricycle
  • Draw straight lines
  • Follow two-step directions


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