Talking and Feeling
- Show your child how to use words.
- Use words to describe your child’s feelings.
- Describe your child’s gestures with words.
- Use simple, clear phrases to talk to your child.
- When reading, use simple words to talk about the pictures.
- Try to give choices. Allow your child to choose between 2 good options, such as a banana or an apple, or 2 favorite books.
- Your child may be anxious around new people; this is normal. Be sure to comfort your child.
A Good Night’s Sleep
- Make the hour before bedtime loving and calm.
- Have a simple bedtime routine that includes a book.
- Put your child to bed at the same time every night. Early is better.
- Try to tuck in your child when she is drowsy but still awake.
- Avoid giving enjoyable attention if your child wakes during the Use words to reassure and give a blanket or toy to hold for comfort.
- Have your child’s car safety seat rear-facing until your child is 2 years of age or until she reaches the highest weight or height allowed by the car safety seat’s manufacturer.
- Follow the owner’s manual to make the needed changes when switching the car safety seat to the forward-facing position.
- Never put your child’s rear-facing seat in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger airbag. The back seat is the safest place for children to ride
- Everyone should wear a seat belt in the car.
- Lock away poisons, medications, and lawn and cleaning supplies.
- Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222) if you are worried your child has eaten something harmful.
- Place gates at the top and bottom of stairs and guards on windows on the second floor and higher. Keep furniture away from windows.
- Keep your child away from pot handles, small appliances, fireplaces, and space heaters.
- Lock away cigarettes, matches, lighters, and alcohol.
- Have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and an escape plan.
- Set your hot water heater temperature to lower than 120°F.
Temper Tantrums and Discipline
- Use distraction to stop tantrums when you can.
- Limit the need to say “No!” by making your home and yard safe for play.
- Praise your child for behaving well.
- Set limits and use discipline to teach and protect your child, not punish.
- Be patient with messy eating and play. Your child is learning.
- Let your child choose between 2 good things for food, toys, drinks, or books.
- Take your child for a first dental visit if you have not done so.
- Brush your child’s teeth twice each day after breakfast and before bed with a soft toothbrush and plain water.
- Wean from the bottle; give only water in the bottle.
- Brush your own teeth and avoid sharing cups and spoons with your child or cleaning a pacifier in your mouth.
What to Expect at Your Child’s 18 Month Visit
We will talk about
- Talking and reading with your child
- Preparing your other children for a new baby
- Spending time with your family and partner
- Car and home safety
- Toilet training
- Setting limits and using time-outs