14-Month-Old: Personality Plus!
At 14 months old your toddler may be revealing more and more of his personality. For example, you may find he understands more of what you say, and that he may be determined to keep going with a favorite activity even when it's time for bed.
There’s a lot you can do to support your toddler’s happy and healthy development, and to help him feel safe and secure while he explores his world in more independent ways. Read on to find out how you can navigate issues like separation anxiety and sibling dynamics at this time.
We also outline some development milestones your 14-month-old may reach around this time, and offer some tips on mealtimes and sleep that you may find helpful. Life is full with a toddler in the house, and this month is no exception. Let’s dive right in.
Toddler Development Milestones
If you have an older child, or are connecting with other parents of young children, you probably have noticed a difference in when development milestones are reached by individual children.
This is normal and expected, as each child is special and unique.
With this in mind, think of the milestones listed here as the kinds of things you might observe around this time. Some may have happened a little earlier for your toddler, while others won't occur until your child is older than 14 months. Speak to your healthcare provider if you’re ever concerned about your toddler’s development.
These are some general areas of improvement and achievement you may observe in your toddler:
Language comprehension. Have you noticed that your little one can point to his favorite teddy when you ask him to show you where it is? Or that he’s waiting by his high chair when you tell him his snack is almost ready? This is happening because your toddler is understanding a lot more of what you say. To help boost his comprehension and language skills, keep talking to him about what’s going on around him and respond to what he says and does. Speaking to him slowly and clearly, and using simple words and short sentences, will also help him understand. Around this time, you may find yourself using less “baby talk” as it’s no longer needed to get his attention.
Flashes of independence and dependence. You might find your 14-month-old becoming bolder and more confident in his attitude and behavior. He might walk away from you to do something you’ve just told him not to do, or play on his own in a more independent way than before. At other times, he might seem especially clingy, perhaps when he’s feeling tired or anxious. The transition toward greater independence is not linear. For example, you may find he’s very independent for several days before suddenly becoming more dependent on you again. This push-pull between wanting to be his own person and needing to be right next to you is normal, and it’s a sign that your toddler is getting used to the idea of growing up. Support your toddler by offering reassurance when he needs it. Don’t try to force him to do something when he’s not feeling confident, as this may make him feel more insecure.
Separation anxiety. It's not unusual for a 14-month-old to put up a fuss when you leave him. One strategy that may help reduce separation anxiety is to let him know what's happening: tell him you're going, that you’ll soon return, and then give him a quick kiss before leaving. Don’t sneak off, as this can make him fearful that you’ll disappear at any time. Plus, try not to reveal any anxiety of your own about the separation, which could make him fuss even more in the hopes that you’ll stay. Once you return, give him lots of attention. In time, he’ll understand that you’ll always return and that leaving doesn’t mean you don’t love him.
Self-feeding. Your little one is getting better and better at feeding himself with a spoon or his fingers, and drinking from a cup, too. Although some of the food may not make it into his mouth, he’ll eventually achieve success. Unbreakable dishes and cups are a good idea, as they may be dropped or even flung from time to time. If your toddler does throw something like dishes or cutlery across the room, tell him that’s not allowed, and put things back where they belong. If your 14-month-old keeps dropping or throwing objects to see you react, it might be a good idea to take him out of the high chair and give him a chance to calm down before trying mealtime again later on.
Toddling. If your 14-month-old is walking, this may look quite different from the way older children or adults walk. At this stage, toddlers step with a wide gait, toes pointed outward, and the steps can be shaky. Your child may seem to lurch forward from one foot to the other, with his arms bent at shoulder height for balance. It all looks very tentative and slow right now — particularly when he loses balance and falls — but it won’t be long before you’ll be running to catch up with him. And if your 14-month-old hasn’t taken his first steps yet, don't worry. This is a development milestone that will likely be reached in the next few months.
Your little one’s changing in ways big and small from one month to the next, but there’s one thing that will remain constant for a while yet — diapers! You deserve a reward for all those diaper changes you’re doing. Download the Pampers Club app and get rewards for all your Pampers purchases.
How to Support Your 14-Month-Old’s Development
These are just some of the things you can do to support your 14-month-old’s development:
Involve him in routine tasks. Toddlers love to imitate and be included in family life, so let your little help you with simple jobs around the home. For example, put some music on and work together to put his toys into his toy basket. The aim is to make this task fun and not a chore, so give him lots of time, help him do a good job, and praise him for helping out. Another idea could be to encourage him to help you put the milk away in a low shelf of the fridge. Giving him a dustpan and brush to “sweep” with is another option. He’ll feel proud that he gets to help with “big boy” jobs. Plus, helping is an important social skill that your toddler will need to slowly learn.
Encourage social interactions. You may find that your 14-month-old enjoys being with other children, especially those who are a little older. Most likely he will play by himself alongside another child, which is called parallel play, rather than playing with that child — the skills to do that will come later. At this stage, your little one is still very “self centered” — he is at the center of the world and can’t really empathize or understand things from another point of view. Sharing isn’t really something your 14-month-old will be thinking in terms of yet, and he may get upset if another child takes one of his things — even if he’s offered it to him to begin with.
Use real words. Given your little one is starting to understand much more of what you’re saying to him, it's best to use actual words instead of made up ones as much as possible. For example, when you're reading a book with a picture of a sheep, say “sheep” and not “baa baa” when you point to the animal. It will be less confusing for him if he only needs to learn one word per thing at this time.
Provide appropriate discipline. Discipline is really about teaching and guiding your 14-month-old rather than punishing him for doing something wrong. At this stage, and in the coming years, your little one will be testing boundaries and discovering his own physical and developmental limits. For example, he might scream in protest if you try to take an object away from him, or he might drop food on the floor even after you’ve told him not to. It will take years of firm but loving “discipline” — in other words, consistent limit setting on your part — for your little one to learn the behavior you expect and to develop the self-discipline needed to be able to act accordingly. It helps for both parents to be on the same page about what the boundaries should be, so have a discussion with your partner (or your child’s other parent) to clarify your approach. Setting boundaries consistently together helps your little one learn the limits more easily, and will help prevent a situation where he tries to pit one of you against the other in the future.
Mealtimes and Menus for Your 13-Month-Old
Your child is still getting the hang of feeding herself, either with a spoon or her fingers, and drinking from a cup. Mealtime messes and spills are part of the learning process, and sometime part of the fun for your toddler.
You may notice that your toddler seems to be less hungry than before. Though growth rates, metabolism, and activity levels vary from child to child, 13-month-olds need roughly 1,000 calories a day. These can come from three small meals and two snacks.
That's not as much food as you might think, though; 16 to 24 ounces of whole milk could account for 300 to 450 of those daily calories, for example.
You may also notice that:
Your child may consume close to 1,000 calories one day but eat much more or much less the following day
She may want a huge breakfast but then not be hungry the rest of the day
She may gobble up a favorite food but then reject that same food a few days later.
Go with the flow by offering a variety of nutritious foods from the main food groups: proteins like meat and eggs; dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese; fruits; vegetables; and whole grain foods such as cereals, pasta, and breads.
Don’t stress about achieving a balanced meal at each sitting. If you offer healthful options at each meal, your little one will eat what her body needs to ensure she gets the right balance of nutrients over the course of a few days.
The key is to experiment with different tastes and consistencies, offer lots of nutritious options, and let your little one choose how much and what to eat. For more inspiration, check out these tips on feeding a 12- to 18-month-old, and take a look at this sample daily menu for your 13-month-old:
14-Month-Old Toddler Sleep Schedule
Your 14-month-old probably needs about 12 to 14 hours of sleep a day. At this stage she may be down to a single daily nap, as about half of all toddlers are by 15 months.
If your toddler has recently started walking, you might find that she has a hard time winding down at naptime or bedtime, given the excitement of exploring the world on two feet. You may find her walking back and forth in her crib as she practices this new skill.
This is OK; your toddler’s excited about her newfound mobility. Watch for signs of crabbiness and let her sleep then as opposed to following the sleep schedule that may have worked until recently. In time, the novelty of walking will wear off and your child will be easier to settle.
A Day in the Life of Your Toddler
Life with a 14-month-old is never dull. Here’s what a typical day might include at your house:
Your Toddler’s Health: Keeping Safe Outside
As your toddler becomes more mobile, it’s important to hold her hand and keep an eye on her, particularly when you’re out and about together.
For example, don’t let her dart away from you in the grocery store, and be particularly vigilant when you’re near cars, such as on the street or in a parking lot. Be very careful anywhere around water, too.
Because your little one can wander off in an instant, the best strategy is to hold her hand. If she tries to wriggle free, you can say something like “I know you want to look over there, but I need to hold your hand to make sure you’re safe.”
You might also like to install extra locks to doors and gates, as well as baby gates or even alarms, to ensure your toddler can’t get out of the house without your knowledge. It’s especially important that the pool and driveway are inaccessible to your 14-month-old.
Although many new cars come with a rear visibility system or an alarm that can detect movement behind the car, always double check that your toddler is not behind you as you back out of the driveway.
When it comes to car safety, be sure keep your car locked at all times, even when it’s in the garage. This helps prevent your toddler getting into the car and accidentally setting it in gear, or becoming trapped in the car and developing heatstroke.
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Your Life as a Parent: Sibling Dynamics
If you have older children, you may notice a slight change in the dynamic now that your littlest one is a toddler. As we’ve described, your toddler is the center of her own universe, and this can make her behave in ways that your older children may find annoying.
For example, your 14-month-old might infringe on her siblings' privacy, take their things as her own, and throw a tantrum if they take their things back.
On the other hand, your older children may be jealous that your 14-month-old gets more of your attention.
Depending on the age of your older child, you may find she is doing things, like misbehaving, just to get your attention.
The sibling rivalry should diminish in the years to come as your children need less of your focused attention.
In the meantime, make an effort to spend some quality time with each of your children. Perhaps have your partner, family member, or babysitter mind one while you enjoy some one-on-one time or a fun outing with the other, and vice versa.
If you’re planning to move your 14-month-old to a shared room in the future, read our tips on creating a room for your toddler and older child to share.