The Toddler Years
Your baby's first birthday marks the start of the toddler years. This is the transition period between your baby's total dependency on you in his first year and his increasing independence as a preschool and school-age child. Instead of the small baby that you were bouncing on your knee, you will now be chasing a running toddler around the house.
As your child learns to walk, talk, dress, and feed himself, he will also learn to be independent in other ways. He may not want to eat when you want him to or stop playing when it is time for a nap. Or he may begin testing his limits to see what he can do and get away with. These are all normal ways that he will learn to develop and grow during this new developmental period.
Your toddler's growing mobility, independence, and need to explore will make it even more important than ever to keep his safety in mind. In addition to continuing to use a car seat in the back seat, you should inspect your house to make sure that everything is still childproofed. It is especially important that you have taken steps to childproof doors so that he can't get out of the house or into rooms that aren't safe.
Playing with Your Toddler
During your child's toddler years, when he is running around and beginning to talk, playtime becomes more fun for many dads. It was certainly fun to play with your infant too, but now your child can really participate in play. Even when he plays alone, it is fun to watch him manipulate toys, stack blocks on top of each other, and try to figure out how things work.
In addition to simply having fun, your toddler's playtime is an important way that he learns about things. Remember that not every toy has to be computerized or have a lot of lights or sounds, though. Simple toys that he can push, pull, or climb on are just as much fun.