toddler helicopter puzzle
Published May 3, 2018


Your toddler is 21 months old!

Playtime is even more entertaining as you start seeing your tot’s personal interests shine through in her toy and game choices. Little Sophia may like crashing toy trucks, and little Asher may dig your shiny pink heels. Kids at this age don’t know there are gender-specific toys—they’re just having fun. During playtime or mealtime, be warned that the wee one may find it “fun” to stick small objects—like raisins or beads—in her nose, ears, or other orifices. So watch closely.

21-Month-Old Development

As your 21-month-old continues to grow, he's developing some new tricks to show off.

21-Month-Old Weight & Height

How much should my 21-month-old weigh? Average weight for a 21-month-old is 24.9 pounds for girls and 25.5 pounds for boys. Average height for a 21-month-old is 32.9 inches for girls and 33.5 inches for boys.

21-Month-Old Milestones

Here are some milestones your 21-month-old may have hit or may be working on:

Motor skills. Most 21-month-olds can run, squat and throw a ball underhand. They can follow two-step directions. For example: Fill up the truck with blocks, then push it to me.
Speech. Your toddler may know 50 or more words and can put two together to make a phrase.
Teething. Your toddler's lower second molars might be erupting, causing some teething discomfort—some come in earlier.
Potty Training. A few 21-month-olds show signs of potty training readiness. It's okay to get an early start if you truly feel he's prepared. But beware of putting pressure on your kid to potty train—it's still early. Most kids aren't really ready to start until about 27 to 32 months.

21-Month-Old Behavior

As your child gets older, here’s advice on how to deal with some potentially challenging behaviors:

Tantrums. Even though your kid's language is developing by leaps and bounds, she still can't communicate everything she wants to say, and that can lead to some meltdowns.
Autism. At the upcoming 2-year-old checkup, your child's pediatrician will likely ask you a series of questions about his behavior to look for signs of autism. But if you have any concerns before then, you shouldn't feel shy about bringing them up to the doctor right away.
Seeking approval. Soon your child will show signs she's aware of your approval…or disapproval. This is an important early step in learning positive behaviors. When your child behaves positively, tell her how much you like it. The opposite goes when she isn't behaving well: Tell her you don't like it.

21-Month-Old Health

Health is always a top concern for parents, and this age is no different. Some common health questions parents of 21-month-olds have include:

• My 21-month-old has diarrhea. What should I do?
• What's a normal heart rate for a 21-month-old? Answer: between 80 and 130 beats per minute.
• My 21-month-old baby is vomiting. What should I do?
• My 21-month-old has a cough. What should I do?
• My 21-month-old has a temperature. What should I do if a fever develops?

Your toddler needs plenty of sleep for his development—and to keep his mood in check. But there are some sleep questions and challenges parents of a 21-month-old can encounter.

How Much Sleep Does My 21-Month-Old Need?

Most 21-month-olds need around 11 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep, plus a nap of about 1.5 to 3 hours, for a total of about 13 to 14 hours of sleep per day.

Every kid is different, but your child's schedule may look something like this:

21-Month-Old Sleep Schedule

Image: Smart Up Visuals

21-Month-Old Sleep Regression

Regression can happen when a formerly good sleeper suddenly begins waking more, throwing her parents for a loop. A bout of teething or illness could be the cause, or maybe a trip or holiday where her sleep routine changed. To get back to the usual snoozing routine, it's important to know the root of the problem, so you can help your child get through it. Stick with the usual bedtime rituals and set limits that will help your child get back on track.

21-Month-Old Fighting Sleep

It's normal for a 21-month-old to resist bedtime. Everything else seems much more fun than sleeping. But your tot does need to snooze (and you need the quiet time too). Here's another place where adhering to the same calming bedtime routine—and starting it at the same time each night—can help.

Also, make sure your child gets plenty of active play during the day, and that you power down devices and TV at least 20 minutes before bedtime. And make sure the afternoon nap doesn't run too late in the day.

21-Month-Old Climbing Out of Crib

The first time you find your toddler climbing out of the crib can surprise any parent. Some savvy parents catch their toddlers pulling a jailbreak and effectively scare them into never trying it again; others simply can't stop them. Once it becomes clear your child isn't staying put, it's really more likely they'll get hurt falling while climbing than they would if they rolled off a low bed. Then it’s time to convert the crib, or bring in a toddler bed or big-kid bed with rails. Some parents even prefer setting the crib mattress on the floor, so the child can't fall far.

21-Month-Old Food

Eating is a really big part of a 21-month-old's life, but you shouldn't make a really big deal about it. In other words, don't fight your kid about food or lecture him if he doesn't eat his green beans. Just offer him healthy options and let him choose what he wants. A little praise for making good choices doesn't hurt.

How Much Should My 21-Month-Old Eat and Drink?

One- to 2-year olds should be eating much like you do: Three meals per day, plus two snacks. Give him a variety of foods in all food groups—vegetables, fruits, grains, protein and dairy—daily.

Most 21-month-olds should be drinking whole milk, since one-year-olds need the fat for brain development. At age two, you should switch him to 1 percent or skim milk. Doctors recommend kids ages one to three get 700 mg of calcium per day. So if your kid doesn't get calcium from any other source, he'll need about three 8-ounce cups of milk per day. If he does consume other forms of calcium, you can adjust his milk intake accordingly.

If you're weaning a 21-month-old from breastfeeding, remember to go slow. Drop one daily nursing session for at least three to seven days before dropping the next. If you go too fast, you could risk plugged milk ducts and infection. Plus, it's a transition that could have an emotional impact on your child, so he may need a little extra comfort and reassurance while weaning.

What to Feed My 21-Month-Old

Continue to offer your child a variety of foods at each meal and during snack time. Most toddlers should eat about ¾ to 1 cup of fruits and veggies, ¼ cup grains and three tablespoons of protein per day.

Looking for some tasty and nutritious meal inspiration? Check out these food ideas for a 21-month-old:

21-Month-Old Feeding Schedule

Image: Smart Up Visuals


21-Month-Old Refuses to Eat

Try not to worry too much if your child is turning down nutritious foods and eating what seems like half a bite for dinner. It's normal for 21-month-olds to be picky eaters. They're not growing as quickly as they did in their first year, and let's face it, saying “no” to eating is part of exercising her newfound independence. The best you can do is to keep offering nutritious food options, choosing and preparing food together, and modeling healthy eating behaviors for your child.

Should a 21-Month-Old Take Vitamins?

If you're concerned your tot isn't getting enough nutrition in his diet, ask the pediatrician about supplementing with vitamins. Some toddlers take a multivitamin and/or an iron supplement. Fiber gummies are commonly given to prevent constipation, but they're rarely needed: Fruits and veggies can usually do the trick for keeping a 21-month-old’s digestive system on track.

Activities for a 21-Month-Old

Fun activities, games and toys for a 21-month-old include:

Make a cardboard house. Using a large cardboard box, cut out a “door,” and you’ve got an instant—and cheap—indoor playhouse. If you feel like getting fancy, decorate the “house” with windows and other details.
Put together a puzzle. Simple puzzles appeal to about half of 21-month-olds.
Play tag. Kids this age love running around and tagging someone "it."
Mix things up. Your child might notice if you call a "dog" a "car," or let you know the book's the wrong way if you hold it upside down.

21-Month-Old Baby Checklist/Tips

• Keep encouraging your child to learn to dress himself. At this point, he might be able to take off a piece of clothing. Soon, he'll be able to put one on and may be able to put on shoes too.
• Enroll in a mommy-and-me swim class. Experts used to discourage official swimming lessons for toddlers under the age of four, since few children under that age have the muscle strength to keep themselves afloat. But these days, experts encourage informal swimming programs to get toddlers comfortable around water—and to teach them its dangers.
• Don't pressure your child to share if she's just not ready to do it yet. But definitely praise her when she does. Some parents find using the term "taking turns" works better than overemphasizing "sharing."

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