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Your Toddler’s 15 Month Old Milestones

15 months is an exciting time. Your toddler is now past the one-year mark and their personality is beginning to shine through. They will begin to show preferences, imitate activities and sounds and start fine-tuning their motor skills. At this point, you might be wondering where your baby has gone as your toddler turns into a little person. 

15 Month Old Milestones

This is a period of exceptional intellectual, social, and emotional changes. Although every child is different and is developing at their own rate, there are a few 15 month old milestones you can expect.

15 Month Old Development and Growth 

At 15 months you will have probably noticed changes in your baby’s physical size and movements. Toddlers at this age seem to be crawling endlessly with about half of them taking steps, running or squatting.

If you haven’t already installed them, now is definitely the time for stair and door gates, as your curious little one makes their way around the house exploring. If you find your 15 month old is getting through these gates, teach them how to safely navigate the stairs while at the same time finding ways to secure the gates further.

Another big change happens with your toddler’s communication and language skills.  Most 15 month olds can say around 5 to 10 words with some early speakers using words like ‘dog’, ‘juice’ or other items from around the house. 

To encourage your little one to speak, don’t immediately give them what they want by pointing. Ask them to vocalize by saying things like, “do you want the juice?” 

At 15 months old it is common to hear your toddler speaking gibberish or baby talk. This is an attempt to practice sounds and words but it shouldn’t be taken for granted that the words they vocalize are they only ones they know. A 15 month old knows more than they can communicate.

You will find your toddler is starting to make some connections to what household items are used for. They might notice that the broom is used for sweeping the house, the cups are for drinking, the spoon is for stirring and more. You might even find them imitating these actions in their play, like brushing a doll’s hair. 

Healthy Weight and Size 

Your doctor will be keeping health records for your little one, but you can easily do some check ups at home if you are concerned: 

  • The average weight for a 15 month old milestone is between 21.2 to 22.7 pounds. 
  • The average height for a 15 month old milestone is between 30.5 and 31.2 inches. 

There is nothing wrong with a bit of give or take on these numbers but ask your doctor if you have serious concerns. Your doctor will also check head circumference and muscle mass at your 15 month visit to ensure your baby is healthy and their growth is on track.

Keep in mind that if you had a premature baby, your little one may not be measuring up to the typical ranges. They may just need a little more time to catch up. 

15 Month Old Sleeping Habits

At 15 months your little one should be getting between 11 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour cycle. This is usually tackled with an 11 to 12-hour sleep throughout the night and a 2-3 hour nap during the day. 

You may still be utilizing two naps a day, but around 15 months most babies start to shift to one. If the shift isn’t happening as soon as you’d like, you can encourage this habit by putting your little one down for naptime after lunch. Just beware of a very tired toddler for the few first days of this new routine. 

Around this age, it is normal for your baby to start experiencing nightmares. Even if your baby has previously been on a pretty good sleeping pattern, this may change around 15 months. 

At 15 months old your toddler hasn’t quite grasped the difference between dream and reality. You’ll likely spend some time reassuring your little one in the middle of the night. Remind them that their dreams are not reality and just know that in due course they will learn the difference.

Another sleep time hurdle could be your little one’s curious nature. They just don’t want to miss out on anything! Continue to structure a nighttime routine around their bedtime. If there is still plenty of activity going on in the house when they are being sent to bed, they may simply not want to miss out on all the fun.

Consider turning down, or off, the television or other entertainment systems in the house when bedtime is approaching. Just like any of us, they’ll appreciate the wind-down. Run a bath just before bedtime to soothe them towards sleep or start a bedtime story routine. A consistent routine is the key to a healthy sleep pattern.

15 Month Old Eating Habits 

From a numbers standpoint, your 15 month old should be consuming about a thousand calories per day and getting about seven hundred milligrams of calcium for bone growth. However, you don’t need to be counting calories. Just ensure you are serving balanced meals and avoiding highly processed or sugary foods.

You may notice your 15 month old is starting to develop preferences around food and they could be becoming a bit of a picky eater! That’s normal and it's okay to let them feel empowered about some of their food choices as long as they are getting a healthy amount of the right foods. Your little one should be having a daily selection of vegetables, fruits, proteins, grains and dairy. 

The easiest way to ensure your 15 month old is getting enough food variety is to structure the day across three meals and two snacks. Just like us, their appetite will fluctuate from day to day and it's okay if they don’t always finish their portion. However, if they start to lose their appetite altogether, it is time to see a doctor.

Consistency is the key to healthy eating habits for your 15 month old. As often as you can, schedule meals at the same time and try to make mealtime an activity. Even if it's sitting down to breakfast together before one parent leaves for work, it's a great time to start practicing polite table manners, socialization, and introducing your baby to new foods. If they see mom or dad trying new foods and sharing meals together, they’ll get excited about it too.

At 15 months, they should also be able to start holding up cups or sippy bottles and drinking on their own. 

15 Month Old Activities 

At 15 months, games are a great way to foster cognitive and physical development. As 15 month olds continue to hone their fine motor skills, they will enjoy new games which involve holding or grasping items. 

You can experiment with give-and-take games for your toddler. This can include rolling a ball back and forth, using building blocks or asking them to solve simple puzzles like putting a shape into the correct hole.

Bust out the crayons and have some artistic afternoons. About half of 15 month olds can hold a crayon and start scribbling, with some are even drawing lines or coloring! These artistic endeavors will help foster creativity and imagination from a young age.

Just as important is giving your child some time to be outdoors. Sunshine and fresh air are fundamental for all human beings - even your little ones. Being outside also encourages executive function reasoning and gives your 15 month old space to run and discover new things.

Reading to them will help foster language and communication skills. 15 months is a great age for picture books. You can read along to your little one and point out animals or objects in the pictures. It’s a great time to start identifying objects by name.

They may not be vocalizing the words they are learning on a daily basis but your 15 month old is are certainly absorbing what is going on around them in the world. They are learning new words, the names of objects, and how objects interact with them. 

15 Month Old Socialization

One of the best 15 month old milestones is that your toddler will likely begin showing affection to you and their caretakers at this age by giving out hugs and kisses. They will also likely have a keen interest in other children. 

Consider joining a playgroup or taking your toddler to the park at 15 months old. Your little one may not be ready to share their toys but side-by-side play will get them ready to engage in games with others in the future.

Toddlers will also start to show empathy at 15 months. If someone is sad, they may mimic this behavior or offer a toy or hug to make them feel better.

15 Month Old Discipline

As your 15 month old starts to display some strong likes and dislikes, there will be a point where they begin to act out if they don’t get what they want. Don’t give in to the temptation to discipline your toddler, as 15 month olds are often too young to understand why they are being disciplined.

Instead, encourage good behavior by modeling that behavior in yourself and creating routines and safe places for them to explore. As their caregiver, if you notice something that may trigger them or if they are beginning to play with something they shouldn’t, simply redirect their attentions elsewhere.

Toddler tantrums typically begin around 12 and 15 months old and peak between 18 and 36 months. Since 15 months is a time when toddlers mimic the behaviors of those around them it is important to stay calm if your little one is throwing a tantrum. You don’t want to accidentally show your child that the appropriate response to anger is anger or that these tantrums are a sure-fire way for them to get what they want. 

We know that this may be one of the most unpleasant parts of parenthood. To help avoid these tantrums on the changing table, try the Diapertainment system. It is designed to play your baby’s favorite shows so that you can get your little one changed without wrestling or crying. 

15 Month Old Milestones Checklist 

15 months is a good time to touch base with your doctor. At your 15 month check-up, your doctor will likely administer some booster shots for vaccinations they received as an infant. Your doctor will be tracking their immunization record and is the only person that can definitively answer questions about your baby’s particular development and habits. 

If you have questions about your child’s development, ask your doctor about the status of their milestones. 15 month old toddlers have typically accomplished or demonstrate the following:

  • Show preferences, strong likes and dislikes
  • Are walking, crawling, or running
  • Understand simple instructions or can point to specific items
  • Can say at least 1 word but more likely 5 to 10
  • Display behavior or actions that mimic the people around them

Keep in mind that toddlers who were born pre-mature may meet these 15 month old milestones later in life. 

Red Flags

It is important to remember that every baby develops at their own pace. However, there are some red flags to look out for.

If your little one is reverting or losing previously conquered skills, if they are communicating less or don’t seem to have an interest in others, then it may be time to schedule a doctor visit. This could be a sign of an underlying neurological disease.

By 15 months, you may feel like time is flying. During this special time, you are getting to know your little one more as they distinguish their preferences and explore the world.

However, we know that navigating the first few years isn’t always easy. Don’t stress if your baby isn’t meeting all the 15 month old milestones right off the bat. Every child is different. Your happy, healthy baby will meet these milestones in due time.

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