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Guide for the Care of Children Online Manual

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Well checkup: 15 months

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Development

At this age, your child may:

  • begin to feed herself
  • say four to 10 words
  • stand alone and walk
  • stoop to pick up a toy
  • roll or toss a ball
  • drink from a sippy cup

Feeding tips

  • Your child can eat table foods and drink whole milk each day.
  • Give your child foods that are healthful and can be chewed easily.
  • Your child will prefer certain foods over others. Don't worry — this will change.
  • You may offer your toddler a spoon to use. He will need lots of practice.
  • Avoid small, hard foods that can cause choking (such as popcorn, nuts, hot dogs and carrots).
  • Your child may eat five to six small meals a day.
  • Give your child healthful snacks such as soft fruit, yogurt, cheese and crackers.
  • Your child needs at least 800 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D each day.
  • Milk is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D.

Toilet training

  • This age is a little young to begin toilet training. You can put a potty chair in the bathroom. At this age, your toddler will think of the potty chair as a toy.

Sleep

  • Your child may go from two naps to one nap each day during the next six months.
  • Your child may sleep about 13 hours each day. Consistent bedtimes are best.
  • Continue your regular nighttime routine: bath, brushing teeth and reading.

Safety

  • Use an approved car seat for the height and weight of your child every time she rides in a vehicle.
  • The safest way for your child to ride is in a rear-facing car seat properly secured in the back seat. You are strongly encouraged to keep your child rear-facing until age 2.
  • Be a good role model for your child. Do not talk or text on your cellphone while driving.
  • Falls at this age are common. Keep gates on all stairways and doors to dangerous areas.
  • Keep all medicines, cleaning supplies and poisons out of your child's reach. Call the poison control center (1-800-222-1222) or your health care provider for directions in case your baby swallows poison. Have these numbers handy by your telephone or program the number into your phone.
  • Use safety catches on drawers and cupboards.
  • Cover electrical outlets with plastic covers.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of more than 15 when your child is outside.
  • Keep the crib mattress at the lowest setting. It's time to move your child to a toddler bed when she tries to climb out of the crib.
  • Always keep the crib sides up to the highest position and the crib mattress at the lowest setting.
  • Teach your child to wash her hands and face often. This is important before eating and drinking.
  • Always put a helmet on your child if she rides in a bicycle carrier or behind you on a bike.
  • Never leave your child alone in the bathtub or near water.
  • Do not leave your child alone in the car, even if she is asleep.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend television for children age 2 or younger.

What your child needs

  • Read to your child often.
  • Hug, cuddle and kiss your child often. She is gaining independence but still needs to know you love and support her.
  • Let your child make some choices. Ask her, "Would you like to wear the green shirt or the red shirt?"
  • Set clear rules and be consistent with them.
  • Teach your child about sharing. Just know that she may not be ready for this.
  • Teach and praise positive behaviors. Distract and prevent negative or dangerous behaviors.
  • Ignore temper tantrums. Make sure your child is safe during the tantrum. Or, you may hold your toddler gently, but firmly.
  • Never physically or emotionally hurt your child. If you are losing control, take a few deep breaths, put your child in a safe place and go into another room for a few minutes. If possible, have someone else watch your child so you can take a break. Call a friend or call the Crisis Nursery.
  • Consider joining a parent child group, such as Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) through your local school district.

Dental care

  • Brush your child’s teeth one to two times each day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. You do not need to use toothpaste. If you do, use a very small amount. Let your child play with the toothbrush after brushing.
  • Using bottles increases the risk for cavities and ear infections.
  • Make regular dental appointments for cleanings and checkups starting at age 3 or earlier if there are questions or concerns. (Your child may need fluoride supplements if you have well water.)

 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition

To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or she" and "him" or "her."

First published: 02/01/2010
Last updated: 01/01/2014

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic