During this month, your toddler will really start to get excited about new and challenging toys. Puzzles, blocks, and building gear make great additions to their playrooms, and anything they can knock over is sure to be a big hit at seventeen months! You may also find that your little one is ready for their very first ride on toy. Get ready to spot them wheeling around the yard in no time!

At seventeen months of age, your baby may…

Take up early engineering. Toys that come apart are generally a good choice with seventeen month olds. Your child will probably love taking things apart and putting them back together over and over again. 

Be a stacking star. Balancing objects on top of each other is no easy feat. Over the last month or two, your toddler has probably shown a new interest in stacking. By now, he can probably stack four or more blocks on top of each other. As his balancing skills develop, you can look forward to looming towers of Legos and Lincoln Logs!

Pinch, hit, push, or bite. While not all children will let out their frustrations in this manner, many will go through a stage of hitting or biting. It will generally happen during a transitional time in emotions and language development, when your child is having extremely strong feelings, but not yet able to convey his needs through language. If your child is in a pushing or pinching stage, try not to shout or panic. The negative attention might make the situation worse. Instead, a gentle redirection is generally your best bet at this age.

Search for a hidden object. Since your child has probably been able to find partially hidden objects since she was about a year old, it should come as no surprise that she is not able to search for a completely hidden toy! Try making a game out of things when you are doing laundry or cleaning. Hide a favorite toy nearby, and give her big clues until she discovers it!

Play with puzzles. Puzzles that have one to three pieces are a fun challenge for children this age. Your toddler will probably enjoy small puzzles that include peg pieces, so their little fingers can easily manipulate each picture.

Pronounce words clearly. Toddlers are notoriously hard to understand, and up until now, it’s possible that you were the only adult able to decipher what your child was saying. But recently, that vocabulary is likely becoming clearer. As she picks up new words, your little one will probably get them right on the first or second try, and other adults and children will begin to understand what she is saying. 

Go from push to pedal. Toys that can be ridden on or pushed with their feet are super fun for seventeen month olds. Your child will get a kick out of using their own strength to get around quickly. Some toddlers may even be able to push pedals on a small tricycle by this age. 

Refuse to share. Before this age it may have been easier for your child to share with others. But not that she has more autonomy, your child understands that she is her own person! Her toys may now become valued possessions, and it will become increasingly hard for her to share with others. 

Use their own name. By now, your child knows his own name and will answer to it often. He may also start to use it on his own! Toddlers often speak in third person, so if you say something like, “who is hungry?” he may shout his own name instead of saying, “me!” There is pretty much nothing more adorable than hearing your child say his own name for the very first time.

It might be hard to understand why your toddler is suddenly more possessive, or starting to push or hit. You may even notice that your little one’s favorite word is “mine!” However, all of these stages are within the realm of normal toddler behavior, and nothing to worry about right now. Instead, concentrate on giving your child an outlet to vent their frustrations. Let them know that people aren’t for kicking, but balls are. Try to get down to their level to talk about what is going on, instead of using a loud voice as a solution. If all else fails, remove your child from the situation and calmly talk to them until they are ready to return and try again! These months can be a challenge for you both, but being prepared for tricky situations will help you navigate these new developments. 

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