By 21 months, she may have reached the following stages:
The routine junky: She can start to get very particular about the plates you use for her meals, the beaker she drinks out of or the item of clothing she wants to wear. Such demands can seem very unreasonable or unimportant to you, but it’s a chance for her to exert control over her environment.
Follow my leader: She may now be able to follow a simple 2-step command that you give her, such as ‘take off your shoes’ and ‘go to the door’. Keep words clear and simple and maintain eye contact with her so she knows you are asking her to do something
Wash and dry hands: She now has the co-ordination to stand with you at the sink and wash and then dry her hands.
Repetition: You may notice her asking you to read the same book to her over and over again, or sing the same song. She starts to anticipate the next page – maybe even shouting out key words. This is all part of her language development and retention.
Square eyed? TV can be a source of great entertainment for her. It can also provide you with some well-deserved peace. However, it can be all too tempting to leave the television on in the background as a kind of babysitter. Evidence suggests that children who watch too much TV at a young age have problems concentrating as they grow up, because TV provides so much more stimulation with faster moving images and sounds than day-to-day life. Pick your programmes or DVDs carefully and always sit with her so that you know what she is watching and you can discuss what you see. Select a few special programmes or times when she watches TV so that it is a treat, not a habit and turn it off when you are focusing on other play activities.
Juice: Natural fruit juices can significantly boost her vitamin intake. Juices such as orange, papaya and pineapple will provide vitamin C whilst apricot nectar provides vitamin A and mango and vegetable juice will provide both. Apple juice is a second best. But remember, don’t fill her up on too much juice as otherwise she will cut back on other essential foods and milk. Always dilute the juice with equal amounts of water. However, water juices and squashes, even if they claim to be 100% fruit juice, should be avoided whenever possible since they can fill her with empty calories and encourage a sweet tooth.
Her own table and chairs: Toddler-sized tables and chairs are perfect for tea parties, creating pretend shops, colouring and puzzles. She will enjoy having her own dedicated space for these activities and as she gets older her friends will be able to sit and play with her at them.
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.