Now that your baby is thirteen months old, they are solidly into the toddler stage and probably acting like it as well! Tantrums may become stronger and longer around this time. Communication continues to evolve, but not quite fast enough. Your little one may become frustrated when they can’t let you know exactly what they want, and you will likely feel the same way. If you have been working on baby sign language, now is the time to really ramp up those efforts. Thirteen months is the perfect time to practice different forms of communication, and see what works best for your toddler.
At thirteen months of age, your baby may…
Bend to pick up objects. Your toddler has possibly been standing, cruising, and walking for a few weeks or months at this point. As he becomes more proficient in these actions, you will start to see him add additional moves to his routine. The first will likely be the ability to bend over from a standing position to pick up a toy. He may be a little unsteady and fall more often than not, but his balance will begin to improve as he tries to pick up every toy that falls in his path!
Love to say no. By now, your little one can say a few words, and chances are that “no” is at the top of their list. Not only is it an easy word to pronounce (much easier to say than “yes”!) but your child can exert some independence and feel a bit of control when they first have a word to express their dislikes.
Find a few friends. At thirteen months old, your child is probably exposed to other children on a regular basis. Whether that is siblings, cousins, neighbors, or friends, you will probably notice your toddler getting excited when they see other people that are their size and age!
Hit and hammer. If you hand your thirteen month old a toy hammer and some pegs, she might be able to make the connection and pound the hammer onto the toy with precision. Her hand-eye coordination is steadily improving, and she will continue to become more skillful when it comes to playing with toys and games.
Master baby signs. Parents that have been trying to teach baby signs to their child for a few months might start to see them begin to use the signs on their own now. Since your toddler now has more control and fine motor skills, he can probably use hand signals to indicate wants and needs. If you haven’t done any signing before, it isn’t too late to start! Baby signs can be a great way to communicate with your little one before they have developed verbal skills.
Fall, often. Whether your baby is just starting to stand or if she is practically running at this point, she will still be falling down, a lot. Thirteen month olds are still top heavy and will tend to tip or roll forward as they try to catch their balance. Just keep sharp furniture and objects out of the way and your little one will be just fine, other than a few odd bumps or bruises!
Change habits. Babies that used to eat constantly may now start to slow down. Or your toddler might seem to be ravenous one day, and barely eat a crumb the next. Generally, your thirteen month old will enjoy being in control of his own appetite, and if he doesn’t want to eat, he won’t. Try offering up a variety of flavors and textures if you suddenly find yourself with a picky eater on your hands, and know that this too shall pass!
Gain weight slowly. Around the time that your baby starts to walk, their pattern of weight gain may begin to slow down. You will possibly notice those chubby baby legs and cheeks start to thin out as your little one grows into her more lanky toddler body.
Practice with pencils. By now, your toddler can probably hold a thick pencil or stubby crayon in his hand, and he will likely try to scribble on any surface he can find. He is imitating what he sees others doing, and realizing that he can create a beautiful masterpiece at the same time. Just try to make sure that art stays on paper, not on your furniture and walls!
Be extra curious. Toddlers at thirteen months want to know how things work, where they come from, and what happens when they go away. You may find your child has rolled under the bed and is exploring whatever dust bunny he found, or that she can climb onto the counter in mere moments, just to see what happens when she pulls on the cat’s ear. If this unbounded curiosity makes you nervous, try to encourage safe ways to explore both outside and in.
At this age, your child will start to be more adventurous when trying to get your attention. You can expect more yelling, screeching, and wailing each day! Your toddler will also really begin to enjoy seeing other children around. This is a great time to look into classes at your local community center. If you find that you just aren’t able to make it out of the house every day, try to find a few minutes to get outside and explore nature, even if it is just in your own yard. Your thirteen month old is so curious that even playing with rocks and leaves might be the highlight of their day!