By 17 months, she may have reached the following stages:
Run run run: She is now walking more steadily and rarely falls. She may also try to run, but she keeps her feet flat and slaps the ground with them. But if she’s still cruising and tottering, don’t panic. Many toddlers who walk later go from early steps to confident strolling in a shorter period of time.
Opposites: She is beginning to grasp the idea of opposites, such as ‘big’ and ‘little.’ When talking to her, use adjectives to describe objects that you see in books and out on your walks.
Recognising people: She can now recognise familiar people at a distance, as well as pointing at things that she recognises.
Pooh! Being aware of her nappy’s contents: She may start to become aware of when she has soiled her nappy, perhaps demanding a change there and then. This doesn’t necessarily mean she is ready to start potty training (although there seems to be great competition amongst some parents about how quickly to start!) But do help to pave the way by encouraging her understanding of wet and dry and talking to her about what you are doing when you go to the toilet.
Seeking comfort: During her second year, she may start to develop new fears that she’s not had before, so her comforter will take on extra importance as she explores the world. Thumb sucking may also become more pronounced. Comforters are often known as ‘transitional objects’, helping her transition to new surroundings when you’re not able to be with her. Try to limit them to set times like nap times, or else they may start to interfere with her joining in with other activities. Advise her nursery that it should only be used during certain times, so it’s not dragged round all day.
A balanced diet: Your toddler should be eating a wide range of food groups and proper meals now. Drinking too much milk or fruit juice, or snacking between meals can dent her appetite and lead to fussiness at meal times. Try to offer a variety of different foods in small amounts which will stimulate her taste buds.
Household objects: Simple items in your kitchen such as cereal boxes, wooden spoons and cardboard toilet rolls will encourage her imagination in play.
Your child’s development may not be exactly the same as these descriptions since all children will develop at their own pace. This is an approximate guide of some of the new skills your little one may be developing. If you have any concerns, always speak to your health visitor or GP.