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  • nikole sariotis

Understanding Cognitive Development 12 - 18 Months

Milestones can vary and they certainly have for my three! With my first I can remember measuring my little guy's development up against the books + his peers constantly. And I knew something was off with his expressive speech pretty early on. Everyone told me not to worry, and I wasn't. But, I understood the value of early intervention when it came to development of all sorts. I was not going to allow shame or any other sort of stigma stop me from getting my child the help he needed.


I looked into my state's offering for Early Intervention and we were able to have him assessed. Fortunately too because he qualified for services. For 18 months we worked the program from our home with a speech therapist before he moved to our district's program for pre-K. I can not tell you how blessed I ultimately feel to have had these services in my life. My son benefited tremendously, but so did I. Before I expand on that, I want to cover a few of the developmental milestones I found helpful to be mindful of when toddlers hit this stage.


If you're like me you might want to consider what you'll potentially be navigating so you can get ahead of it as best as you can. Trust me, I'm not perfect over here. I've had plenty of mom fails, if you will, but in my eyes nothing is ever really a failure if you choose to take something away from it especially as a positive lesson.


But none the less here goes!


We can look at development in the following ways cognitive, physical, emotional, social, language, and self-esteem. So, let's dive into cognitive first!


You may have noticed your babe's mental development is on the uptick. At this age our littles are interested in cause and effect. Is your babe fascinated by the flick of a light switch or the dropping of their fork yet? They are learning how to see the world developing their intelligence, seeing patterns, and experimenting. You can help them build these skills by reinforcing what you see with words describing their action.


You can even expand and model it for them. Think about this when you're working with a puzzle. Take the same piece out and place it back in the puzzle board a few times and then offer it to them to try. They will soon begin to mimic your behavior. When they do elaborate on what you see with your language.


"You are doing a great job turning the puzzle piece to see how it fits!"


Even if they don't have language skills that you seem to recognize yet, they are learning from your tone and encouragement.


Just think about how they put your cell to their ear or try to slide it open. They know what's up. Make everything a chance to learn. And remember your language is so key! It may sound like you are narrating everything, because well, you are. But momma this is so good for them! Keep it up and know you are doing big things with such simple daily building blocks like these.


One other skill you may want to call in at this age is the art of redirection. If you haven't learned how to master it you will soon want to. This will save you time and time again from meltdowns, both theirs and yours. I kid you not, ha!


Here is the deal, they are set on learning. Their curiosity is raging and they are making sense of things with intense gratification. So when you are done switching the lights on and off for the 5th time in ten seconds you have to help everyone shift with grace.


Like I said, its a skill. And sometimes even the most skilled have to battle the toddler beast of persistence. The thing is I want to encourage persistence to have a lead in their life, so I move with that in mind. The art of redirection lies in my ability to provide our toddler with an equally matched challenge or originality. This may also mean we have to set the tone for the new activity and perhaps stay engaged a bit longer, at least until said toddler has sufficiently moved on. When in doubt MegaBloks and puzzles have typically saved us in this house.


Also for all my oily moms I recommend you grab something good for patience. In any case like this Magnolia or Peace help me remain cool as a cucumber.


Happy Brain Building! <3