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New this month: Moving forward
Every day you watch your toddler attempt and accomplish something new, but the 15th month is one that pediatricians and developmental experts consider a "milestone" period. Most babies (around 90 percent) are walking now, and it may seem like with her first steps your baby walked right out of babyhood. Suddenly she wants to sit at the dinner table – or stand on a chair at the table – instead of in her highchair, she wants to talk on the telephone, push the vacuum cleaner, anything she can do to help you. Even if she's not totally confident on her feet, she's still very keen to experiment with different ways of moving: climbing, trotting, running, jumping, and ... dawdling.
Shopping and marketing can be challenging during these early stages of toddlerhood, since your mini-explorer is much too curious to be strapped into a grocery cart or stroller – she'd much rather stand or walk. (Some babies this age are more content to ride in a backpack.) She also wants to pull things off of shelves and then try to carry the objects while she walks around. While this can be frustrating for you, she's not intentionally trying to cause trouble – she's just putting her new physical skills to the test.
What you can do
If your baby is walking with confidence, it won't take much encouragement from you to get her to take some bigger steps. For a safe, fun outing, get a large lightweight ball, like a beach ball, and head to a grassy place where there's a gentle slope. Toss the ball up the hill and then when it rolls back toward you, show your toddler how to catch it. She may not catch it very often, but she will have a great time trying to chase it down.
If your toddler is still wobbly on her feet, she may enjoy pushing around an activity walker toy. She'll soon build up the confidence to walk freely on her own.
Other developments: Busy hands
Keys, pencils, lipsticks, a watch, anything you have in your wallet: All are likely to be fascinating to your toddler. Not just because they're fun to look at, but because she sees you using such objects and she wants to do the same. The problem is, you might not want her trying on your lipstick! Your challenge is to find ways to satisfy her need to mimic the things she sees you do, but safely. Consider getting her a set of plastic keys all her own. You can also give her an old purse of yours and put in a hairbrush and comb, and maybe an old wallet.
There are plenty of other ways to keep your toddler's hands occupied for more than a minute or two. For example, fill a laundry basket with odds and ends, such as plastic containers and lids, paper towel or toilet paper cores, empty cereal boxes (with plastic liners removed), and so on. She'll love getting her hands on – and trying to figure out how to use – objects that look like they have a purpose.
See all our articles on toddler development.